Bid to liquidate Road Accident Fund, oust chief executive
Pretoria - The Road Accident Fund (RAF) will next month face an application for liquidation and another for the appointment of its chief executive to be overturned.
At the same time, a judge last week warned in no uncertain terms that the entity should get its house in order and be transparent.
The RAF wanted to ask the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to grant it a reprieve of 180 days in which to pay its debts before debtors could sell its moveable property to enforce payments.
But the court said the RAF had to go back to the drawing board as it could not apply for such a blanket order in its current form.
The court meanwhile also discharged an interim order issued recently in which the RAF wanted to stop the sheriff from selling off its moveable assets for non-payment of claims.
Some firms even obtained orders to attach the fund’s bank accounts in an effort to enforce payments.
The RAF turned to the court last month for an urgent interim order to instruct the sheriff to return all its goods which were removed from its Menlo Park office due to non-payment to certain creditors – victims of vehicle accidents, who have been waiting for a very long time to receive compensation.
The fund further asked that the sheriff be prevented from making any further attachments of its movable assets and that any orders the court makes in favour of claimants waiting to be paid, be placed on ice for 180 days to give the RAF some breathing space.
While the court did grant the order regarding the attachment of the fund’s movable assets last month on an interim basis, Judge Elmarie Van der Schyff said the court could not bind a plaintiff, who was not even a party to those proceedings, to such a broad order.
Instead of confirming the order as requested by the RAF, Judge Van der Schyff agreed that the RAF could not suspend the rights of all claimants who wanted to be paid, while only two respondents – one law firm and the Pretoria East Sheriff – were cited in its application.
The effect of this is that as things stand, claimants can continue to instruct the sheriff to execute warrants of execution against the RAF.
The judge said if the RAF wanted a 180-day reprieve, it should launch a new application and ask the court to constitute a full court – three judges – to preside over it.
She added that the fund won't be hampered in its work, as parties know they must stand in line to be paid in terms of court orders – the oldest and longest outstanding orders first.
The judge, however, lashed out at the fund for its “total lack of transparency in dealing with claims since the start of this year”.
She said this resulted in the discontinuation of the “payment list” by the RAF which indicated which claims were to be paid when.
Claimants complained that some RAF employees took bribes to allow claimants to “jump the queue” when it came to payments. One was recently arrested for allegedly taking a R4 000 bribe.
Private ambulance services who say the RAF is owing them millions for services rendered, have meanwhile threatened not to attend to vehicle collisions any further if their demands for payments are not met.