Mom finally gets R1,2m for her paralysed son

Penwell Dlamini and Thuli Zungu

Penwell Dlamini and Thuli Zungu

A destitute paraplegic finally got his R1,2 million compensation yesterday, thanks to Sowetan.

Sibusiso Lamula was a seven-year-old Grade 2 pupil at Weilers Farm Combined School in the Vaal when a car shattered his young life, leaving him paralysed from the waist down.

He was in a coma for three months at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital because of serious head injuries.

In 2006 the Road Accident Fund awarded him R1,2 million, of which R875000 was deposited into the trust account of Raphael and David Smith Attorneys.

And even though he is still staying in an RDP house with his mother Phumzile Lamula - she had to leave her job at a furniture manufacturing company in Eikenhof after 16 years - she did not get sufficient financial assistance from her son's attorneys.

Phumzile Lamula stays with her son in an RDP house in Lehae near Lenasia, south of Johannesburg.

Since the accident Phumzile Lamula has been living in abject poverty while the lawyers said they had invested the money on her instructions.

She has denied this as "a blatant lie".

She had approached the law firm Raphael and David Smith in 1997 to assist her claim from the RAF.

Yesterday, Judge Nigel Willis of the Johannesburg high court appointed a curator to administer Sibusiso's affairs.

Phumzile Lamula was ecstatic yesterday.

Thanking Sowetan for highlighting their plight and making it possible for her son to receive compensation, she said:

"I will never forget Sowetanand what it has done for me and my son. It has become part of my family.

"I am so happy my nightmare is over. I had lost hope that my son would ever get his compensation.

"I am glad that Sowetan gave me hope to carry on to this finality," added Phumzile Lamula, battling to keep back tears.

Her son will soon receive a monthly allowance for his upkeep from the curators.

Judge Willis appointed Advocate Michael Alex Fisher, who has more than 18 years experience in the legal field, as curator.

Sowetan published the story last year and Judge President Bernard Ngoepe intervened on behalf of Sibusiso, which led to yesterday's court ruling.

Raphael and David Smith have since filed a R2 million lawsuit against Sowetan after we published the story.