Johannesburg – Thousands of claimants of the Road Accident Fund can once again request the millions of rand owed to them by the agency.

This comes after the attachment of the RAF’s bank was lifted yesterday, agency chief executive Eugene Watson said.

“Payments to claimants, service providers, stakeholders and caregivers have resumed,” he said in a statement. “The attachment obstructed payments to the value of approximately R550million to various stakeholders.”

By the close of business yesterday, the RAF had paid over R520million to more than 7000 recipients “in an effort to mitigate the impact on all those affected by the account attachments”.

On Friday, the RAF announced it was unable to make any payouts to its claimants, service providers, stakeholders and caregivers when the sheriff of the court attached its bank accounts after several legal firms sued the fund for R11m.

Late last year, the agency said internal and external investigations against lawyers, staff and claimants had saved it billions of rand in bogus claims.

“The team will work on bringing all payment schedules up to speed and on ensuring that the cash management plan schedules are restored. The cash management plan put in place two years ago, when the value of finalised claims exceeded available cash, endeavours to maintain regular payments to creditors,” Watson said.

Financial challenges, he said, which were affecting the RAF’s claims processing – the fund’s fundamental business – had improved over the years.

In mitigating the financial risks, he said, additional funds were continuously requested and the National Treasury and Transport Department were aware of all writs and attachments.

Watson said the fund had employed “dedicated communication channels for all payment queries”. “The increasing prevalence of direct claims generates a saving in legal costs of more than R1 billion a year,” he noted.

The Star