Shoprite accused of negligence that led to elderly woman’s fall

12 October 2021 | Accidents

ESTER KAMATI AND LIMBA MUPETAMI

WINDHOEK

An 81-year-old Tsumeb woman, Veronika Neidel, has been unable to walk since slipping and falling at the local Shoprite grocery store in early September.

Before the incident, she lived with her 12-year-old granddaughter, but has since had to send the child to other family members as she can no longer take care of her.

Neidel said she fell in an aisle where tiling work was being done. According to her, there was no warning sign.

She slipped on a loose tile and fell on her hip, hitting her head in the process and losing consciousness.

Some Shoprite staff members who witnessed the incident helped Neidel up and carried her to a taxi, which they paid to take her home.

Needs wheelchair

The next day, Neidel was unable to walk and her daughter took her to hospital, where it was confirmed that she had torn a hip muscle.

Her daughter, Hetta Uiras, has since moved into her home temporarily to care for her.

“She wasn’t walking at all,” said Uiras, and weeks after the incident, her condition has not changed.

About two days after the incident, an employee from Shoprite, whose name is known to Namibian Sun, visited the elderly woman to check on her health.

Uiras contacted the Shoprite management, who she claims initially admitted negligence and apologised to Neidel.

“We asked them to help us with medical expenses and other needs. They agreed but later changed their mind. They claimed she was already suffering from ill health when she walked into the shop,” Uiras told Namibian Sun.

At the age of 81, Neidel was still able to clean her house, wash her clothes and cook for herself and her granddaughter. She also liked to water her plants. These are things she can no longer do.

“Shoprite must help us because she injured herself in their establishment. At this moment, she needs a wheelchair. I am unemployed,” Uiras said.

Shoprite responds

Approached for comment, Shoprite apologised for the way the incident was handled.

“We would like to apologise to the customer for the way in which her matter was originally dealt with in store and are addressing it with the parties involved.”

Shoprite said it has reached out to the family directly “to provide the necessary assistance and ensure the matter is resolved”.

The company added that a notice has been put up in the store to warn customers of the tiling work being done.

“The affected areas were demarcated accordingly,” they added.

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