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Six law firms to carry on fight to have Road Accident Fund CEO Collins Letsoalo axed

Road Accident Fund CEO Collins Letsoalo. Picture: Zelda Venter

Road Accident Fund CEO Collins Letsoalo. Picture: Zelda Venter

Published Jun 17, 2022

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Pretoria - Six law firms that lost their legal bid to challenge Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s appointment of Collins Letsoalo as head of the Road Accident Fund (RAF) are taking the fight to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, Judge Brenda Neukircher, at the end of March, found that the lawyers and their firms did not have the legal standing to launch the application.

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They, however, say they have every right to approach the court as they are acting in the interests of their clients who all have claims against the RAF.

Judge Neukircher earlier turned down their application on the technicality that they did not have legal standing to approach the court in their names. She subsequently also turned down an application by the lawyers for leave to appeal against her judgment.

They have now filed an application for direct leave from the Supreme Court to appeal. Lawyer Kabelo Malao, cited as the first applicant in the application, said in an affidavit filed with the Supreme Court that the majority of matters in which they acted for their clients against the RAF were done on a contingency fee basis (if they lost, they did not get paid). Thus, they as lawyers had every interest in seeing that the RAF CEO was capable of doing his job.

They maintained that Letsoalo’s appointment posed a threat to the proper functioning of the RAF and the resolution of their clients’ claims.

Malao said Letsoalo, among others, delayed in paying out claims to clients following court orders or settlements and he instructed banks not to co-operate with sheriffs who wanted to attach RAF assets in a bid to pay these claims. Letsoalo also took decisions in matters where he had no power to do so, including getting rid of the panel of attorneys at the end of 2019.

Malao said the judge erred on several grounds in her judgment, including that the attorneys, as applicants, brought the application in their own interest. He said even if the judge found their legal standing to bring the application to be questionable, she should have ruled on the merits of the case; whether Letsoalo was the fit person to hold the position as CEO.

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The attorneys also argued that Letsoalo made several “misrepresentations” in his CV when he applied for the job. They argued that his appointment was irrational and should be set aside, and expressed frustration at the manner in which he handled payment claims for road accident victims. They said many of their clients remained out of pocket despite court orders that they be compensated by the fund.

Letsoalo and other interested parties must still file their opposition to the leave to appeal application. No date has yet been set for the hearing.

Pretoria News

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