Thabo Joseph Molefi’s claim against his insurance company was dismissed before he went to the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to appeal the verdict.
Supplied / Google Maps, taken in 2022, accessed in 2022.
- In 2018, a man claimed his car was stolen after he and his friend were drugged by two women they met at a party.
- MiWay Insurance denied his insurance claim saying he had provided dishonest information.
- The man resorted to the Supreme Court after the district court dismissed his claim.
A man who claims his car was stolen after an unknown woman drugged him after a late-night party has won a court case that his insurance company obliges him to pay for the car.
Thabo Joseph Molefe has turned to the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to appeal against a judgment by the District Court, which dismissed Molefe’s claim against MiWay Insurance for payment of R164,880, the replacement value of a 2010 Mercedes-Benz.
MiWay rejected his claim, saying he was given dishonest information by Molefe.
According to the ruling, which was drafted by Acting Judge C.K. Maccice with the approval of Judge Brenda Neukircher, Molefe said his car was stolen on January 22, 2018.
Dizziness without memory
Molefe and his friend Victor went to a “social event” in the evening where they met and became acquainted with two unknown women.
At the end of the evening, the two women tell Molefe to come up just as he and Victor are about to leave.
When he got to his cousin’s house, Molefe said, he wasn’t really feeling well, but he didn’t stay there because the women wanted to buy food. Molefe took them to a nearby gas station.
Molefe said he had no memory of the events after he arrived at the station.
Mr. Molefe was woken up the next morning by unknown people in an unknown location without his car, mobile phone, keys and wallet.
“His clue was that he was feeling dizzy. He managed to get close to a nearby store and eventually managed to call his family. Then when he was still ‘tired, sleepy, very dizzy’, he went to SAPS to open his car theft case.”
Molefe later finds out that Victor has the same symptoms.
They suspected that the two women had drugged them.
After opening a criminal case, Molefe filed a lawsuit with MiWay for the loss of his car.
Molefe originally told MiWay that they left the social event around midnight, but later told the resident investigating the claim that he could have underestimated the time because they only arrived at his cousin’s house sometime after 04:00.
While engaging with the resident, Molefe admitted he had an open alcoholic beverage in his car when they left the social event.
He also provided the insurance company with video footage from the garage showing a woman getting out of his car at 04:30 to go to the store before returning and driving away.
Molefe was also booked from work after consulting a doctor about feeling dizzy.
On the insurance company’s side, the resident spoke with Victor and another person who had seen Molefe the next day. MiWay also spoke to Molefe’s cousin. All three individuals corroborated Molefe’s account.
“On February 8, 2018, Mr. Molefe gave his last interview at the MiWay offices, where a MiWay official told Mr. Molefe that he was under the impression that Mr. Molefe had not provided any false information to MiWay,” said the judge.
Despite this, MiWay later rejected Molefe’s claim, stating that he had provided dishonest information.
Molefe challenged the decision, and went to the district court, which not only agreed with MiWay that Molefe was dishonest, but also took it one step further and found that Molefe acted fraudulently.
However, the Supreme Court found that the district court had erred because fraud was not the case MiWay had pushed.
But at the end of the day… this was not a MiWay case filed and the fraud case should never have been considered because it was a MiWay case in which the lawsuit was dismissed because Mr. Molefe was dishonest.
Material misrepresentation and honesty.
The information in dispute was whether Molefe dropped off the two women before or after he passed out, the alcoholic drink in his car and the time he left the social event.
The Supreme Court agreed that these cases were material and constituted misdirection, but questioned whether Molefe’s evidence was so detrimental to MiWay that the insurance company had the right to deny the claim.
Macecice found that, on the basis of the evidence presented and on a balance of probabilities, Molefe had established that his car had indeed been stolen.
The court further said that Molefe’s account was candid because he admitted he had been drinking and had an open liquor in the car.
I consider Mr. Molefe’s actions, considered holistically, to prove that on the balance of probabilities his car was indeed stolen on the night of the 22nd.[nd of] January 2018.”
The Supreme Court further noted that there was no basis for the District Court to hold that the discrepancies in Molefe’s version were so serious that they harmed the insurance company.
“Indeed, in my opinion, it was not material at all. Thus, there was no basis on which they should have dismissed Mr. Molefe’s claim, nor was there any basis on which the court could have dismissed his claim either,” Macecice said.
The court upheld Molefe’s appeal. The court also ordered that MiWay pay Molefe’s legal costs.