Wheelchair-bound Zambian sues South African Airways and ZAC for emotional stress


A ZAMBIAN has sued South African Airways and the Zambia Airports Corporation for compensation for causing him pain, emotional stress, indignity and violating his rights by failing to provide equipment for him to board and disembark from an aircraft due to his reduced mobility. In a 10-point statement of claim filed at the Livingstone High Court on Monday through Major Isaac Masonga of KBF and Partners, Joseph Moyo of house number 45 Chisamba Way in Livingstone, who is currently in the United States for medical services, said he has frequently suffered emotional and physical pain when boarding and disembarking from an aircraft.

The plaintiff avers that he has for some time since 2012 been a person with reduced mobility due to his poor health thereby requiring reasonable care to be taken by the defendants both on the ground and during flight. Moyo avers that as a result of the defendants’ failure to provide ambulance lifts or passenger aid unit for boarding and disembarking therefrom, very time when boarding the 1st defendant’s aircraft (South African Airways (SAA) at the 2nd defendant’s airport (Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula

International Airport (HMIA) in Livingstone, he has had to be physically lifted by at least four people into the aircraft whilst strapped to a chair [wheelchair] in a very uncomfortable and risky process which has caused him extreme pain and suffering thereby occasioning him emotional and physical stress during boarding the aircraft, during the flight and disembarking from the aircraft. He further said being lifted into an aircraft, Moyo who is a frequent traveller on SAA through HMIA has had to be pushed in a wheelchair on an uneven apron for quite a long distance from the departure lounge to the aircraft, a process which equally causes him stress. The plaintiff indicates that the process of being lifted by at least four people into an aircraft to a chair robs him of his dignity and violates his rights as a passenger.

He avers that as a result of his medical condition and a person of reduced mobility every time he is traveling he has always notified the 1st defendant with his medical condition. Moyo says he has provided his medical documents in advance of at least 48 hours before the intended flight which he repeats every time he checks-in in order that the 1st defendant can make arrangements with the 2nd defendant to provide the said necessary equipment for usage by people with reduced mobility for easy boarding of the aircraft and disembark therefrom.

He says however, the defendants have neglected to make sufficient provision of necessary equipment like ambu-lift. Moyo says he has never enjoyed reasonable comfort during his flights due to this neglect to provide necessary equipment by SAA and the Zambia Airports Corporation Limited. He has demanded that SAA and Zambia Airports Corporation Limited provide the necessary equipment for people with reduced mobility at HMIA. Moyo is claiming damages for negligence on the part of the defendants for failure to provide reasonable equipment for the aircraft…for people with reduced mobility.

“Compensation for pain, emotional stress, indignity and violation of his rights suffered at the hands of the defendants as a result of failure to provide equipment for reasonable boarding of the aircraft and disembarking therefrom for people with reduced mobility. Costs of this action and any other relief that the court may deem fit,” submits Moyo.

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