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PHIWA, BUFFS ORDERED TO PAY CAMERAMAN E108K

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MBABANE – The High Court has ordered Young Buffaloes and their striker Phiwa ‘Slwabelwabe’ Dlamini to compensate Eswatini TV cameraman Sipho Celani Mavimbela with a sum of E108 000.

The court further directed the MTN Premier League top goal scorer and the team to pay the aforementioned amount with interest at the rate of nine per cent, calculated from the date the judgment was issued. On top of the E108 000, the striker and the team were ordered to pay costs of suit. The judgment by the court comes after Mavimbela instituted legal proceedings against the striker and the team after he was assaulted by him and his teammates at Somhlolo National Stadium in 2018. He contended that the assault impaired his dignity as a family man and because it occurred in full view of members of the public.

It was further his contention that as a result of the injuries he sustained from the assault he could no longer perform his regular duties which required him to be on his feet for a long time. Mavimbela averred that as a result, he was re-assigned other duties and he lost extra pay he used to earn for working on holidays as a cameraman. He was initially demanding a sum of E220 000 but the court found that the amount of E108 000 would be sufficient.

During the hearing of the matter, the plaintiff ( Mavimbela) testified that on November 26, 2018  he was at Somhlolo National Stadium where he watched a soccer match between Mbabane Swallows and Young Buffaloes.   He informed the court that at the end of the match he moved outside the stadium where he waited at the parking lot. It was further his evidence that while chatting with some people he saw a bus belonging to the army exiting the stadium.

The court heard that the bus stopped next to Mavimbela and its passengers, who were players clad in their club jersey alighted. Mavimbela submitted that he saw many of them giving chase after a drunk man. According to the plaintiff, the players caught him (drunk man) and severely assaulted him. The plaintiff averred that, alarmed by what was happening, he proceeded to record the incident using his cellphone. He submitted that while recording the video he heard one of the players shouting that: “There he is taking a video. The group left their victim and ran towards me. The pack was led by ‘S’lwabelwabe’, who grabbed me by the neck and tried to strangulate me.  ‘S’lwabelwabe’ punched me heavily in the eye and his companions joined in the assault,” submitted the plaintiff.

Mavimbela continued to inform the court that he fell down and his assailants kicked him all over the body.  He pointed out that one Sandile Gwebu whom he knew as the team’s spokesperson later brought him his phone which had been smashed into pieces. Gwebu, according to the plaintiff tossed the phone to him without saying a word. He narrated to the court that he was badly injured, bleeding from the nose and could not see properly.

The plaintiff also pointed out that he was taken to MediSun Clinic where he was treated and discharged. “At home I could not sleep due to the extreme pain and could not breathe properly. I went back to hospital the following day and then to the police station where I laid a charge of assault,” submitted the plaintiff. The court heard that subsequently, on June 11, 2018, Slwabelwabe appeared at the Mbabane Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty of assaulting Mavimebela and was sentenced to one year imprisonment with a fine option of E1 000.

Senseless

In her judgment, Judge Doris Tshabalala, said the court was satisfied from the papers filed and the oral evidence of the plaintiff, all of which proved that he suffered bodily pain, contumelia, as a result of the wrongful, unlawful and senseless attack by ‘S’lwabelwabe’ and his colleagues. The judge said although Mavimbela presented evidence of medical treatment there was, however, no proof of the amount of medical expenses incurred that was availed to the court.

Judge Tshabalala also noted that both ‘S’lwabelwabe’ and the team did no contest the claim made against them.  She said there was no challenge that Young Buffaloes was vicariously liable for delict committed by its player, off pitch at the venue of the match where he was engaged shortly. “Judgment by default is accordingly granted against the first respondent (‘S’lwabelwabe’) and the second defendant (Young Buffaloes), jointly and severally, one paying the other absolved,” ordered the court. The plaintiff was represented by Macilongo Ndlovu and there was no appearance for the defendants.

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