A South Africa’s appeals court has granted damages to the family of a five-year-old boy who fell into a pit latrine at school and drowned in 2014.
The Judges in his ruling on Wednesday overturned the decision of a lower court, which dismissed the family’s case last year and ordered the Department of Basic Education to pay Michael Komape’s family over 1m rand ($70,000; £53,000) for emotional shock.
The appeals’ court however rejected the family’s demand for 3m rand ($208,000), ruling instead that Michael’s parents should receive 350,000 rand ($24,000) each and his three siblings 100,000 rand ($7,000) each
His parents, James and Rosina had sued the minister of basic education after their son died for falling into a pit latrine. Michael was a pupil at the Mahlodumela Primary School in the northern Limpopo province. He drowned after going to the toilet on 20 January 2014.
The tragedy caused outrage in South Africa, and drew attention to the lack of proper toilets in many schools.
The department of Basic Education had denied responsibility for Michael’s death
Human rights group Section27, which fought the campaign to achieve justice for Michael’s family, said in a statement that it welcomed the ruling.
An estimated 4,500 schools out of a total of 25,000 in South Africa have pit latrine toilets.
After another incident last year where a five-year-old boy drowned after falling into a latrine President Cyril Ramaphosa vowed that South Africa would eradicate pit latrines in state schools within two years.
“This is an initiative that will save lives and restore the dignity of tens of thousands of our nation’s children,” Mr Ramaphosa said.