Home National “Towards a new Road Accident Fund For All”

“Towards a new Road Accident Fund For All”

by Masibongwe Sihlahla
1 comment
road accident fund

Opinion- Masibongwe Sihlaha

For many years the RAF (Road Accident Fund) played a pivotal role in assisting victims getting back on their feet sometimes literally and sometimes metaphorically.

 

The Road Accident Fund (RAF) provides compulsory cover to all users of South African roads, citizens and foreigners, against injuries sustained or death arising from accidents involving motor vehicles within the borders of South Africa.

road accident fund

road accident fund

This cover is in the form of indemnity insurance to persons who cause the accident, as well as personal injury and death insurance to victims of motor vehicle accidents, and their families.

 

The RAF is responsible for providing appropriate cover to all road users within the borders of South Africa; rehabilitating and compensating persons injured as a result of motor vehicles in a timely and caring manner; and actively promoting the safe use of all South African roads.

The beneficiaries of the RAF comprises not only the South African public, but it includes all foreigners who find themselves within the borders of our country.

 

The insurance cover the RAF provides is firstly personal insurance cover to accident victims and /or their families, and indemnity cover to those who have been at fault in the accident. The Road Accident Fund is thus a compulsory Social Insurance in relation to the comprehensive social security net the government provides for its citizens.

 

For many years the many lawyers and or their firms had a nice cosy relationship with the RAF and many punted openly for business as it was easy money always paid and which through their greed the lawyers exploited to expand their income and satisfy their greed.

 

Long before the New South Africa corruption was rife and lawyers played a leading role in stealing public funds by illegally inflating their costs, many of them dragging out cases and even inflating the already extended times they charged the RAF.

 

The greed of the lawyers reached such a critical degree that expenses paid to lawyers exceeded medical compensation paid for over 11 years. You did not hear lawyers or their associations or firms complaining then.

 

A case in point -between 2004 and 2008, the RAF spent 314% more on legal costs than medical compensation. Scarce financial resources which could have paid for more teachers or nurses are consumed in complex and costly legal processes egregiously drawn out by lawyers to inflate their compensation for themselves.

 

This is money from the fiscus which could also have been applied to assist the injured victims to recover, rehabilitate, heal and re-assume their place in society as economically active members.

A special camaraderie developed over the years between these lawyers and officials at the RAF and officials who made sure that certain lawyers always got business from the RAF was well looked after to such an extent it became an open secret to all and sundry, such was the situation when lawyers were happy to have their snouts in the feeding trough. It was their time to eat and they did not have a care in the world.

The claims system worked on an honours basis in the believe that lawyers being professionals will be honest and not abuse the system and exploit any loopholes.

 

Indeed the system expected that if a lawyer are aware of a loophole he will bring it to the attention of the relevant authorities, what we had instead was the exploitation of every loophole to rip off the fund.

 

It became so bad that many lawyers started punting for business by placing adverts in working class newspapers asking if you have been in an accident. Some lawyers were so greedy they would take claim the whole amount from the claimant they represented.

 

The act governing the RAF states that claimants must be paid out if duly processed and awarded a successful claim irrespective of the income of the Fund. It is no wonder that due to the greed of the cost overruns as a direct result of the legal profession that the fund is unable to pay out all claims.

 

Lawyer know that because they are the instigators of High Court orders against the fund for payment even if there are no funds resulting in furniture and equiptment of the fund being taken by the sheriff of the court and also attaching money due to the RAF from the fiscus.

 

The lawyers are well aware of the havoc they have caused to fund their lifestyles and now they are the first to complain claims take too long to be processed and claims which have been approved take way too long to pay out.

 

What a dishonourable band of thieves now playing the high moral ground making themselves out to be the victims instead of being the causal factor in the havoc they have wreaked upon the RAF.

 

Can impertinence get any grosser than this?.May God protect from such greed. Due to the deviousness of these so called Personal Injury Plaintif Lawyers who recently formed their own association called PIPLA even actuaries and officials at the RAF has been roped in to assist in inflating costs.

The corrupting of actuaries and RAF officials to assist them in their looting of public funds It is so sad as these are also professionals. More shocking is the arrogance of these lawyers in insisting few years ago that the minister must appoint a CEO who is a lawyer as they hoped a lawyer in charge would be sympathetic to them (read as corrupt as them) so that they can start feeding at the trough again.

 

It is sad that only on rare occasions where claimants themselves laid charges were lawyers brought to book , in one case a claimant was paid out a few hundred thousand the lawyer kept the money for himself without informing the claimant whom he was representing. Fortunately the lawyer was brought to book was found guilty of theft and struck from the roll.

The intent of the memorandum drawn up by lawyers and sent to inter alia the Portfolio Committee on Transport was to embarrass the minister and deputy minister with intended aim to embarrass them and thus force them to allow the lawyers free rein again.

 

The DM whose responsibility the RAF is has brought in a lot of changes with the intended purpose to ensure accountability of public funds as well as more checks and balances to ensure efficiency so that process are not drawn out which will prejudice the citizens as claimants. For this the Minister and Deputy Minister has been targeted by a broad range of reactionary forces hell bent on undermining orderly government.

I am confident that our Deputy Minister of Transport Mr Lisas Mancu will remain resolute to root out corruption and turn around the RAF so that it can become a beacon of hope to our people who have been victims of road accidents but also worst victims of unscrupulous lawyers so that they can restore their dignity.

As a Deputy Minister coming from the struggle Mr Lisa Mangcu is well aware that socio-economic and demographic factors both determine the extent of exposure to risk on our roads and Gauteng being the province with the most vehicles he is well placed to ensure the common man is not short changed in future when claiming from the RAF.

Masibongwe Sihlaha
Independent Writer and Political Analyst

 

Masibongwe Sihlahla Independent Writer / Political Analyst The Views Expressed Here are not those of Central News***

Masibongwe Sihlahla
Independent Writer / Political Analyst
The Views Expressed Here are not those of Central News***


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1 comment

Abongile Mafevuka August 19, 2023 - 9:28 am

I thank people like Masibongwe Sihlahla for his informative artilce letting the public know how the RAF has been robbed by the lawyers who are supposed to be officials of the court. Thank you for such a brilliant expose of criminal lawyers

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