Man plans to sue store over work accident
When Mthandazo Dingana was pinned to a rubbish skip by a forklift driver, he barely survived the accident, and his dreams of running a recycling business and cleaning up his neighbourhood have died.
Dingana, 37, told of his miracle survival after the accident.
“I had a waste recycling business and I was busy cleaning up the receiving section at Boxer Superstores in Motherwell,” he said.
“I was putting rubbish in the skip so my back was to the forklift driver.
“Suddenly I felt a terrible pain as the forklift reversed into me.
“The machine pressed so hard into my body that my pants tore,” he said.
The driver immediately switched off the vehicle and ran inside to call an ambulance.
“I just fell down. I thought I was dying,” Dingana said.
“They took me to the IOD [injury on duty] centre, but I wasn’t on Boxer’s payroll so they couldn’t help me.
“I phoned a friend who took me to Livingstone Hospital.”
Dingana was at Livingstone Hospital for a month and 10 days as doctors implanted plates and screws to try to save his arm.
“It was difficult to breathe.
“The doctors took an X-ray and said some of my ribs were broken, but those must just heal by themselves,” he said.
After he was discharged from hospital he attended all his check-ups and physiotherapy appointments, but his arm never healed properly.
“The doctors say that there is nothing more they can do.
“My arm doesn’t straighten and I can’t really use it.”
Dinga said he would need more medical help as he also still suffered from back pain.
“I have a sharp pain in my spine all the time,” he said.
“I can’t do my business anymore.
“I grew up in a house where my mom was always selling things. We always made our own way.
“When I heard about recycling and how it can boost the township economy, I was very keen to try.
“My business was going well. For four years I supported myself on the money I made with recycling.
“I employed high school girls who came to help me after school and I paid them well.
“They were proud that they could buy things like toiletries and sanitary products for themselves.
“I taught one so well she has now received a scholarship to study further at NMU.”
In a neat file he has pictures of how he and his workers would separate plastic, electronic and glass waste and how they cleaned up vast tracts of NU1 in Motherwell.
“My business was growing so well and I had a lot of companies who were interested in what I did,” he said.
In another notebook he wrote his thoughts on losing the use of his arm.
“I believe God wanted me to live,” he wrote.
“I am really struggling. I am disappointed in Boxer Stores because they didn’t help me at all,” he said.
“Maybe if I died they would have thrown me in the bin as well.
“My life changed radically that day.
“Now I can’t use my arm. It is even difficult to wash myself.
“I can’t cook. I struggle to dress. My sister must come help me.
“I don’t blame the forklift driver. I don’t think he saw me.
“That receiving area was very busy and the store did not have a separate area for waste.
“They all knew I was there. On days I wasn’t there, they would phone me to come in.
“When we grew up we never applied for grants, my mother always looked after us.
“Then I was always working and never asked for a grant.
“Now, for the first time, I had to ask for a disability grant.
“I prayed that day that I would survive.
“I want to be better and start my company again.”
After trying without success to get some assistance from Boxer, he had now decided to sue the company.
“I went to the Nelson Mandela University’s legal aid clinic and they have opened a file.
“They said they will be writing a letter to Boxer.”
He said subsequent to his visit to the law clinic, a manager at the store told him their “lawyers were handling it”.
Boxer Superstores spokesperson Prenella Govender said a full internal investigation was under way.
“We seek to uncover the exact details of what is alleged to have transpired.
“We cannot give you any further details other than Boxer takes such matters very seriously and they are treated with the utmost priority,” she said.