ZIMBABWE ELECTRICITY TRANSMISSION
IN THE HIGH COURT OF ZIMBABWE
BULAWAYO 8 & 9 FEBRUARY & 26 APRIL 2018
L. Mudisi for the plaintiff
Advocate L. Nkomo, for the defendant
MAKONESE J: Where a defect or dangerous condition in the conductor or any appliance of a power company, causing injury to a person or persons, negligence does not per se give rise to liability as against the power company. Liability on the part of the power company turns on whether it knew, or by the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known of the defect, in time to have avoided injury.
The standard test for determining negligence in regard to liability for delictual damages is whether a diligent paterfamilias in the position of the defendant would have foreseen the reasonable possibility of his conduct injuring another person or property and causing the patrimonial loss. Negligence arises where the reasonable person would have taken reasonable test to guard against the occurrence of injury, but fails to take such steps to prevent harm from occurring.
On the night of the 13th December 2015 there was a heavy storm in the Hozheri village of Gweru. During the overnight storm a bolt of lightning struck a wooden electricity pole carrying three electricity conductors, destroying the insulator pin and insulation porcelain on the cross-arm, causing one of the three conductors to dislodge from its position on the cross-arm, leaving it hanging two metres above the ground. The following morning, there was a slight drizzle, the plaintiff, who was 19 years old at the time was herding cattle. He was wearing a rain coat. The