Race against time to push road accident bill through
The chairperson of the portfolio committee on transport, Dikeledi Magadzi, confirmed on Thursday that some law firms were still objecting to the new scheme as it would give an administrator the power to disburse funds to the victims.
Magadzi said they needed to finalise the bill by the first week of October, before Parliament ended its term early next year before the polls. President Cyril Ramaphosa has not yet announced the date for the elections, but it is believed they will take place in the first half of next year. Magadzi said they would finalise the public hearings next week and then start processing the bill in Parliament.
“After we finalise the public hearings process," she said. "we will look at all the submissions, especially the critical submissions that should be infused into the bill. Remember, we had lawyers and doctors making the submissions.
“We will look at everything and write a report to Parliament and say whether the bill should go to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.”
She said that most of the law firms were objecting to the bill because it proposed that an administrator be appointed to process the funds to the victims. Some communities had also raised objections about certain aspects of the payments of funeral benefit schemes in the bill. They wanted areas impacting on how the scheme made payments for funerals to be corrected.
Magadzi said the question of a R100 000 cap on all victims had been raised with the department as they believed it would disadvantage some victims, given that some were more badly injured than others. But the process would be to ensure that the committee dealt with the concerns raised in the submissions by different stakeholders.
“We are under pressure to finalise it during the first week of October," Magadzi said. "Remember, next year is election year.”
The department tabled the bill to cut out the middleman in the processing of claims. Some have been accused of not giving road accident victims the money due to them.