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Judge highlights African tradition in RAF ruling

Publish date: 13 May 2024
Issue Number: 1076
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Litigation

Lina Baloyi has successfully turned to the Limpopo High Court (Polokwane) in South Africa to force the Road Accident Fund (RAF) to pay her for loss of support after her only remaining child died in a car accident. According to a report in The Star, Judge Maake Kganyago said she was entitled to claim for the loss of support arising out of the death of her son, since she was indigent and had been partly dependant on him. Kganyago quoted at length a similar judgment in which it was held that African law obliged a child who was financially able to do so, to provide maintenance for his/her needy parents. The court said when an African person provides support and education to his/her son or daughter, he/she is not under a duty to do so on the strength of the South African legal system, but custom obliges such a parent to do this. ‘In fact, in African tradition to bring up a child is to make for oneself an investment in that when the child becomes a grown-up and is able to participate in the labour market, that child will never simply forget about where he comes from,’ Kganyago said. ‘This duty is inborn and the African child does not have to be told by anybody to honour that obligation. ‘In fact, that is the trend in almost all black families in rural areas, including so-called urban black communities.’

Kganyago noted that the mother received a social grant of $96 with which she had to support herself and her two grandchildren, adds the report in The Star. Her only source of income was the social grant to feed three mouths in her home. ‘In my view, the plaintiff is indigent, and the deceased owed the plaintiff a duty of support according to his financial means,’ the judge said. Kganyago ruled that Baloyi may claim loss of income from the RAF.


Full report in The Star

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