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Victory for Little Chumani

Zinhle Mapumulo
Barely a week after City Press published the story of Chumani Magwayi – who has cerebral palsy because of medical negligence – the Gauteng health department has announced it will compensate the little boy and his family.
Chumani (8) sustained a brain injury when he was suffocated during birth at Ekurhuleni’s Pholosong Hospital in 2005.
He is now mentally and physically disabled.
On Thursday, Gauteng’s health MEC Hope Papo accepted liability for Chumani’s injury at the North Gauteng High Court.
This means that the defence, which is suing the state for R13.9 million, will now have to prove Chumani’s pain and suffering, past and future medical expenses and future loss of income are worth that much or more.
Lawyer Olof Joubert, who is representing Chumani, described the department’s decision as the first step to victory.
He said: “All we have to do now is approach the Deputy Judge President Justice Aubrey Ledwaba (at the North Gauteng High Court) with an application for the granting of a preferential trial date.
“This will assist us to finalise the damages portion in order for him to enjoy the healthcare he so desperately needs.”
Chumani’s mother, Cynthia Magwayi (30), said: “I wish there was a word that could describe how I feel.”
“I am happy, relieved and a bit sad at the same time. The fact that the department has accepted liability for what they did to my son makes me happy and relieved that Chumani will be compensated for his suffering.”
“But I’m also sad that my little boy will never live a normal life. No amount of money can ever fix him or erase the pain that I went through the day I found out that he would was disabled,” Magwayi said.