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Minister speaks up as RAF crash fund stalls

Industry news
Johannesburg – Minister Dipuo Peters has apologised to people affected by the delays in payment following the attachment of the Road Accident Fund’s (RAF) bank account by the sheriff of the court.

“Minister Peters finds the attachment of the RAF’s bank account unfortunate and regrettable because the action denies the claimants access to their much-needed financial relief from the government,” said a statement by her department.

Peters directed the RAF to keep those affected informed and ensure that normality was restored urgently.

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Transport Minister Dipuo Peters. File picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Media.

On Friday, RAF chief executive Eugene Watson said payments had ceased due to the RAF’s bank account being attached.

“This is the result of a few legal firms whose actions have disrupted an established cash management plan.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused and every effort is being made to resolve the matter speedily in order for the RAF to resume payments.”

Several legal firms have reportedly sued the fund for R11 million.

The department said that while the government was planning to introduce the Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS), the RAF had introduced the cash management plan two years ago to maintain regular payment.

“The current scheme administered by the RAF is subjected to fraud, opportunistic and over-inflated claims, professional malpractice and human failing.

"This is among the many reasons that led to the government’s introduction of the RABS, a no-fault scheme, which will create a new era of socio-economic balance and also remove the unintended negative consequences and financial burden on the families of the wrongdoer.”

The RABS was intended to replace the current fault-based system which often resulted in extensive and costly litigation, prolonged claims finalisation and high administrative costs.

Under the RABS, fault would not be considered on the part of the claimant or other persons involved in the road accident.

The focus would essentially be on how the claimant was immediately assisted.

In terms of the scheme, payments would be made directly to claimants and medical and health-care service providers.

Funded by the fuel levy, the RABS would provide benefits for medical expenses, income support, family support,and funeral benefits, the department said.

Claimants would be able to claim from the scheme, while the scheme’s administrator would assess claims for benefits and pay beneficiaries in terms of the act.

The removal of fault and the provision for defined benefits further limited room for disputes and associated legal costs that would otherwise have been incurred, the department said. 

ANA

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