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Mashongwa v PRASA (CCT03/15) [2015] ZACC 557

26th November 2015


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The Constitutional Court handed down judgment in a matter concerning a claim for damages suffered as a result of injuries sustained by a rail commuter and whether the railway company took reasonable measures to avoid injury to the commuter.

On 1 January 2011, the applicant, Mr Mashongwa, was the only passenger in a coach of a train operated by the respondent, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).  At the time, there were no security guards in the train and the doors of the coach in which he was travelling were left open while the train was in motion.  Three unarmed men entered from the adjacent coach, robbed and assaulted Mr Mashongwa and threw him out of the moving train.  As a result, he sustained serious injuries and his left leg was amputated.


He instituted action against PRASA in the Gauteng Division of the High Court, Pretoria.  He argued that PRASA had been negligent in failing to ensure that the doors of the train were closed and to hire sufficient personnel to ensure the safety of rail commuters.  He also contended that PRASA did not exercise the reasonable care required to avoid the incident which resulted in the violation of his right to safety and security.

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