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The Member of the Executive Council, Education, North West Province vs. Izak Boshoff Foster & Others - (13 Feb 2023)

State is liable for any delictual or contractual damage or loss caused as a result of any act or omission in connection with any school activity conducted by a public school


The Appellant, the MEC of Education, North West, was found liable in terms of Section 60 of the South African Schools Act, 1998 for damages suffered by the first Respondent as a result of the negligence and incompetence of a third party (first aid personnel) appointed by Hoer Volkskool Potchefstroom (Volkskool) to administer emergency medical service at a rugby tournament taking place at Volkskool premises. The central issue for determination is whether the MEC was liable for the second injury that, the first respondent suffered on 6 May 2010 at the rugby match held at Volkskoo. The High Court held the MEC liable for the totality of damages suffered by the first respondent as well as all costs associated with the action on a punitive scale.

The high court correctly applied its mind when it held the MEC liable for damages that the first respondent suffered based on the unrefuted expert medical evidence. The expert medical evidence supported the conclusion that his damages were caused by the manner in which he was carried off the field by the first aid personnel and the consequences which flowed therefrom. Volkskool failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that the first aid personnel it employed were competent, properly equipped and available to deal with the clearly foreseeable possibility of serious injuries and their consequences which are inherent to the sport of rugby. The MEC was liable for the wrongful conduct of the school because rugby was found to be an activity connected to an educational activity as defined in Section 60 of the Act.

State is liable for any delictual or contractual damage or loss caused as a result of any act or omission in connection with any school activity conducted by a public school. Section 60 brought about a legal duty to avoid delictual harm based on the principle of in loco parentis, in which the school or an educator assumes the role of a parent, when learners are under their care and custody during sport and school activities. The MEC was liable for the damages the first respondent had suffered.


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