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SU to pay R15m in damages to former student injured in residence fire

In 2017, the institution lost its appeal against a ruling holding it liable for damages claimed by Izak Potgieter.

Stellenbosch University. Picture: Facebook.com

CAPE TOWN - Stellenbosch University will be paying R15 million in damages to a former student who was injured in a 2007 fire at a residence.

In 2017, the institution lost its appeal against a ruling holding it liable for damages claimed by Izak Potgieter.

Potgieter was left paralysed as a result of the injuries he suffered in the fire at a residence he'd been staying in on campus.

The university said its insurers have settled the matter with Potgieter, agreeing on the multi-million-rand payout, reportedly earlier this month.

Potgieter was a third-year student staying at the Eendrag men’s residence in 2007 when a fire broke out at the hostel one morning.

He tried to escape through his third-floor room window.

Potgieter sustained burn wounds and was left paraplegic after the incident.

In 2016, the Western Cape High Court found the institution should have taken reasonable steps to guard against a repeat of a fire at another residence on campus several years earlier.

The university said since 2010 it has improved safety of its buildings on campus, including the mitigation of fire.

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