22 August 2017

South Africa: Woman Wants Damages After Reservist Boyfriend Shot Her

An Eastern Cape woman wants the minister of police held liable for damages she suffered after her reservist boyfriend shot her in the face.

The Constitutional Court will hear Elsa Booysen's case against the minister on Tuesday.

She filed for damages after her boyfriend, Constable Johannes Mongo, shot her in the face with his service pistol at her home in Pearston, Eastern Cape, on March 22, 2013.

According to the court record, Mongo was dropped off at the couple's home in a police vehicle during his break.

He had been issued a weapon at the start of his night shift and was expected to return it when his shift ended. The couple had dinner and, after the meal, while the two were sitting outside, he shot her. He turned the gun on himself and died.

Booysen believes the minister is vicariously liable for the damages she suffered as a result of Mongo shooting her.

The Eastern Cape division of the High Court in Grahamstown agreed with her and ordered that the ministry be liable for whatever damages Booysen deemed fit.

The ministry appealed and the Supreme Court of Appeal set the ruling aside, with costs, in December 2016. The SCA said Mongo was at the house for private reasons and not for work.

The fact that Mongo had been issued with an official firearm was not enough to make the minister liable because neither Booysen nor the police ministry had reason to believe he would shoot her.

The SCA found the couple's six-month relationship had been untroubled, and that even Booysen was surprised by the shooting.


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