The Polokwane High Court has dismissed a R3-million civil claim by the family of Michael Komape, a five-year-old boy who died when he fell into a pit toilet at Mahlodumela Primary in 2014.
Komape family’s is appealing a civil claim for constitutional, general and special damages.
They were also seeking compensation for the funeral costs and loss of income for Michael’s mother, Rosina Komape, who lost her job as a domestic worker soon after the death of her son.
The court ordered that safer toilets be installed in the province and R6 000 be paid to two of Michael’s siblings for general medical expenses.
Controversy surrounded the primary school as school principal and Grade R teacher Maphalane Malothane, in her defence, said she had appealed for toilet upgrades from the department of education, which were ignored by the department.
The Limpopo department of education reportedly pointed to inadequate planning, financial mismanagement and poor service delivery among the reasons for Malothane’s accusation.
The six-year-old was in Grade R at the time, and did not return to class as usual on the day, which led to Malothane calling his mother. They searched the school and found Komape in the pit toilet of the crèche section of the school.
During her testimony in court, Malothane also detailed how emergency services had to dig up the toilet structure to get to five-year-old Komape.