Klass Looch Associates

Employer OHS Champion since 1986 

Chartaprops 16 (Pty) Ltd & another v Silberman 2008 SCA


Delict – Claim for damages – Liability – Independent contractor


Whilst at a shopping mall owned by Chartaprop, owner of a shopping mall (the first appellant), the Mrs Silberman (respondent) slipped on a substance on the floor, and had injured herself. The second appellant was the cleaning company which the first appellant had contracted to keep the floors clean. The respondent successfully sued both appellants for damages, leading to the present appeal.

Held that the Chataprop had tasked the second appellant (independant contractor) with going over the floor at intervals of no more than five minutes. As owner of the mall, it was required to take no more than reasonable steps to guard against foreseeable harm to the public, which it had done by engaging the second appellant, an independent contractor. The Supreme Court of Appeals court found that the independant contractor had done what was required of it, and held Chartaprop liable for the damages and not the independent contractor.

This civil case will soon be analysed. Does it amount to a civil version of section 37 of the OHS Act?

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