Durban — The CEO of Road Accident Fund, Collins Letsoalo, said the RAF was ready for whatever lawyers would throw at it. This follows the RAF’s call for complainants to come to the fund directly instead of going through lawyers.
The RAF is a government-funded scheme that provides compensation to victims of vehicle accidents.
Letsoalo said as long as the RAF claimants were happy, it was enough.
“We know that the lawyers would be unhappy about this,” he said.
Letsoalo said this at the RAF conference which is taking place in Ballito until Friday. At the conference, the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) funds from Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa are exchanging knowledge about the best ways to rehabilitate road crash victims. The event will also focus on research-enabled case management, refining clinical outcomes and reintegrating accident victims back into society.
Letsoalo said the RAF wanted a direct relationship with its claimants and to simplify the process so that they got the most benefits. He said the fund wanted to make sure lawyers were excluded from the system and victims engaged with the RAF directly.
“Lawyers usually take 25% of the claim unnecessarily. We are saying we want contact with our people,” Letsoalo said.
Letsoalo said a claim would now take 120 days rather than four years to process. He said people should phone or WhatsApp the RAF at 087 820 1111. If a claimant did not have airtime they could send a call-back request and they would receive a call.
“No matter what your lawyer says just call us and check where your claim is and check how much you are being paid and the benefits you are getting from the RAF,” he said.
Letsoalo said in the new Road Accident Fund Amendment bill, foreign nationals should be excluded. He said a lot of foreign nationals had benefited from the fund. He said the highest payout made to foreign nationals was more than R500 million.
“We don’t think that makes sense.”
Letsoalo said what was important was that the claimant was rehabilitated back into the community. He said countries like Botswana were ahead of South Africa and would be sharing their experiences.
He said people should not be getting large amounts of money but rather be paid in monthly instalments. Professor Conran Joseph, of the University of Stellenbosch, spoke about research-enabled case management, saying each case required a robust methodological approach to assess claims.
Letsoalo said the RAF should develop its own evidence-based foundation that took into account the injury, contextual factors and evidence from the literature to provide future-focused management plans. Medical history should also be considered.
Furthermore, according to the proposed changes in the new bill, medical aid members and medical insurance holders would no longer be able to claim for medical expenses incurred in accidents.
Public suggestions and objections to this bill were closed on Monday.
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