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Chapter 8

IMMOVABLE PROPERTY

8.9 LIABILITY OF STATE FOR ANY DAMAGE OR LOSS AS A RESULT OF ANY SCHOOL ACTIVITY

8.9.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 [SASA]
  • State Liability Amendment Act 20 of 1957 as amended in Government Gazette No 34545 of 12 August 2011 [SLA]
  • The State Liability Bill of 2009 [SLB]
  • State Liability Amendment Bill of 2018 [SLAB]
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993, as amended [OHSA]
  • Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act No 2 of 2010 [SSRE]

8.9.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Liability of State for any Damage or Loss with any School Activity

Liability of State

  • The State is liable for any damage or loss caused as a result of any act or omission in connection with any school activity conducted by a public school and for which such public school would have been liable but for the provisions of this section.
  • Where a public school has taken out insurance and the school activity is an eventuality covered by the insurance policy, the liability of the State is limited to the extent that the damage or loss has not been compensated in terms of the policy.
  • The provisions of the State Liability Act 20 of 1957 apply to any such claim.
  • Any claim for damage or loss contemplated must be instituted against the Member of the Executive Council concerned.
  • The State is not liable for any damage or loss caused as a result of any act or omission in connection with any enterprise or business operated under the authority of a public school for purposes of supplementing the resources of the school as contemplated in Section 36, including the offering of practical educational activities relating to that enterprise or business.
  • Any legal proceedings against a public school for any damage or loss contemplated above, or in respect of any act or omission relating to its contractual responsibility as employer as contemplated in Section 20 (10), may only be instituted after written notice of the intention to institute proceedings against the school has been given to the Head of Department for his or her information.

8.9.3Guidelines for the Development of School Policy to Prevent any Damage or Loss with Any School Activity

  • As a first priority, the School Governing Body should take out insurance to cover all possible risks of injury or loss to learners, educators, workers, parents and visitors.
  • Constant supervision of learners during breaks and after-school activities is very important and there should be proof of that in the event of any incident.
  • In the case of events, each of the parties concerned in an event at a public school is responsible for ensuring that they comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act), Public Open Spaces By-laws and any other relevant Council and City by-laws where it is applicable to them.
  • The OHS Act that governs workplaces, requires of employers and employees that they shall:
    • provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risk to the employees;
    • take steps as may be reasonably practicable to eliminate or mitigate any hazard or potential hazard to the safety or health of employees;
    • establish, as far as is reasonably practicable, what hazards to the health or safety of persons are attached to any work which is performed, and the employer shall, as far as is reasonably practicable, further establish what precautionary measures should be taken with respect to such work in order to protect the health and safety of persons, and shall provide the necessary means to apply such precautionary measures;
    • provide such information, instructions, training and supervision as may be necessary to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees;
    • take all necessary measures to ensure that the requirements of the OHS Act are complied with by every person in his employment or on premises under his control; and
    • enforce such measures as may be necessary in the interests of health and safety.
  • Principals, educators and Governing Bodies must familiarise themselves with the contents of the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act 2 of 2010 which provides measures to safeguard the physical well-being and safety of persons and property at sports, recreational, religious, cultural, exhibitional, organisational or similar events held at stadiums or venues.
    • The SMT must draw up a School Emergency Plan and see to it that every person or learner knows what to do in cases of emergency, also in the case of events organised by the school.