What started as a seemingly vibrant community protest within the area of Ezeseleni, Warden quickly ended in the tragic shooting of a young girl rendering her a paraplegic from the tender age of 18. Weighed down by the extreme difficulties and challenges that accompany the daily living of a paraplegic Anti Elsi Kunene put her faith in Honey Attorneys (instructed by Cloete & Neveling Inc.) in the hope that justice might someday prevail.
The first daunting task Anti’s legal team, led by Attorney Niel Joubert and Advocate Neil Snellenburg SC, faced was proving that the hand who pulled the trigger sealing Anti’s fate indeed belonged to an unidentified police officer, acting in the course and scope of his employment whilst simultaneously proving the attribution of unlawfulness on the part of such unidentified officer. Realistically one would assume that proving the Defendants liability in Anti’s case would be the most challenging task pertaining to the merits trial yet it became evident that the Defendant’s constant requests for postponement would far outweigh the former.
Following two separate postponements of the merits trial which postponements resulted in legal costs of R 46 420.67 , costs you dear reader most definitely unknowingly contributed to paying for, the merits trial best described as a three day long bloodbath commenced and concluded leaving the passing of time until judgment was handed down on 26 November 2015. Despite the Honourable Court finding the Defendant 100% liable toward Anti for the damages she sustained the Defendant still denied liability seeking leave to appel which leave was denied inevitably carving the Defendant’s liability in stone.
The second daunting task Anti’s legal team faced was quantifying and proving the amount as to which Anti would be entitled to receiving. To assist them in their task Joubert called upon Advocate PJJ Zietsman. With the quantum set down for 25, 26 & 28 October 2016 the biggest uncertainty was whether the matter would run its full course or once again fall victim to the Defendant’s request for postponement. Outstandingly, come trial day the only victim seemed to be the dragging of time spent in settlement negotiations as the Defendant knelt before Lady Justice caving to a settlement of R 6.5 Million.
Although one can argue that at the end of the day justice indeed prevailed for Anti one cannot help but raise the question as to where exactly public interest comes into play when public funds are tirelessly utilised in funding unnecessarily dragged out legal battles.
By Yolandi Vosloo (LL.B)