South African courts usually have refused to sustain actions for economic losses flowing from negligently-inflicted injuries to another person or his property. However, it can no longer be said there is a general rule of non-liability in such circumstances.
In Union Government v. Ocean Accident and Guarantee Corporation Ltd.,1 a magistrate employed by the South African government was injured while a passenger in a taxi, which he was using for the purposes of his official duties. He was absent from duty for two and a half months during which, under the regulations governing his service, the government continued to pay his salary. The government sought to recover the salary it paid during this period from the insurer of the taxi. It alleged that it had suffered damages in this amount for loss of the magistrate's services as a result of the taxi driver's negligence.2
The Appellate Division held that, with the possible exception of the employer of a domestic servant, an employer had no cause of____________________