Road Accident Fund: Stop the Bill

Picture this: it’s a pleasant saturday evening and you’re taking a walk down the road to the shops. Suddenly out of nowhere some drunk fool veers off the road and slams his BMW into you. You break an arm, a leg, and your face is scarred for life. He’s rich and you are just a student.

Does the Road Accident Fund pay out? NO.
Can you sue him for pain and suffering, or even your medical costs? NO.

This is what the new RAF bill is proposing. Broken arms, legs and facial scarring will no longer be considered serious enough for the fund to pay out. And they are going to take away your common law right to sue the guilty party for compensation. How is this constitutional?

The govt feels they are losing too much money to road accident victims, so they are going to reduce payouts. And we already pay 31.5c on every litre of petrol to this fund. What for?

This bill proposes a blatant contravention of your rights. It is unfair, unconstitutional and unrealistic. Do your part to stop this bill and sign the online petition.

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OK, now that i’ve done my bit for the day🙂

Yesterday I was talking about how zimbabwe’s rulers use the acquisition of white-owned farms as a lie to cover up acquisition of land for the government’s own use. In SA, land redistribution has so far taken the path that both the buyer and seller must agree to the terms of sale for the sale to go through, and the process is merely mediated by the government. Sounds fair, right? It would be if they were planning to keep it that way. The first seizure order on a white owned farm in SA has been delivered. The floodgates are official open. The government has seen how Mugabe has got away with it for so long without any real retaliation from africa or the world, and now they know they can go right ahead and do it too. Gotta love that constitution.

And Tony Yengeni, the one attempting to get his corruption sentence reduced so he can continue to serve in parliament, is in the news again. This time, a man fitting his description, driving a car registered to him, was spotted driving recklessly on all four rims down Marine Drive in Table View. He was apparently drunk. He eventually stopped, spoke to the people who reported the incident and had been following him, and to two security guards who were at the scene. They all agree that it was him. He then drove off before the police arrived. And this man wants to be allowed to continue to serve in public office. Brilliant. He hasn’t even been arrested yet. ‘An investigation is in progress’. Uhuh. Sure.

10 Responses to “Road Accident Fund: Stop the Bill”

  1. You seem to have horribly misrepresented the RAF amendments.

    From the StopTheBill site you link to:

    Removes money for pain and suffering from almost all categories of injuries … . Pain and suffering refers to emotional trauma suffered as the result of injury. The RAF will still pay out for the medical expenses required to treat the injury and will still pay out disability benefits. Claiming for emotional stress is such a load of BS I’m happy to see it go.

    Limits loss of income to approximately R13 000 a month. Since everyone is paying similar amounts to the fund a limit like this seems completely sensible. A flat rate fund like the RAF can’t possibly cover loss of income for arbitrary amounts and still remain within its budget.

    Removes your right to get your medical expenses back at the rates charged by private hospitals. No medical aid will pay out medical expenses at arbitrary rates. Even the most expensive Discovery plan will only cover you for 100-150% of the Medical Assocation rates – beyond that you’re dipping into your medical savings acount, i.e. your own pocket.

    Removes your right to recover your damages from the guilty party. This may seem odd at first, but the draft I found explained quite clearly why they feel this is necessary:

    22.3 Leaving this common law right intact has the following disadvantages:

    1. This right is of dubious value: it avails nothing if the wrongdoer is uninsured or has no means. The prudent road-user should therefore in any event have in place personal accident insurance to cover his own loss.
    2. The right to sue (as victim) carries with it the risk of being sued (as wrongdoer). The prudent road-user should therefore in addition procure legal liability insurance as well, in order to protect his estate against a possibly crippling claim from a high-income person.
    3. Legal liability insurance is expensive and not readily available for meaningful amounts, especially in the case of public transport.
    4. Legal liability insurance is not available for unlimited amounts. Cover as high as R5 million remains virtually meaningless in the face of a claim for R20 million or multiples thereof.

    22.4 Government therefore believes that the population at large would be better served if the common law right in this respect be abrogated. A similar situation exists in respect of injuries and diseases contracted in the course of employment (Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993).

    Essentially, if you want more cover than the RAF provides, get medical and life insurances. The alternative is for every driver to get legal liability insurance for huge amounts.

  2. The road fund *does* work the way it is and has worked this way for many many years without having a budget problem. Mismanagement is the reason for failure, not pay outs. Government is changing it because it is an advantage to them, not to the average citizen. It is the only reason they do anything.

    You have a right to litigation. Government passing a bill that will take away that right, in any sense, is undermining the system of justice we still like to pretend we have. Whatever their carefully formulated reasons, it’s wrong.

  3. Whether or not the RAF is mismanaged is a separate issue to whether or not the bill should be stopped. Let’s try stay on topic. Also, it’s obvious that good management is better than bad and that fraud and corruption should be rooted out. Stating this doesn’t make you case any stronger.

    The RAF does currently have problems with large pay outs to foreigners, high income earners and people suing for emotional trauma. Non-governmental medical aid and insurance companies have structures in place for dealing with the very same issues the bill addresses. Why would the government not need to put similar restrictions in place?

    It’s probably also worthwhile noting that the average citizen you refer to doesn’t earn more than R13000 per month, won’t have the option of attending a private hospital and can’t afford to initiate litigation.

    The right we have is to equality before the law. This does not include the right to arbitrary litigation. Careful reasoning is what debate is about, if you’re going to abandon it, why bother arguing at all?

    “If a statement is false, that’s the worst thing you can say about it.” – Paul Graham

  4. I’m not interested in having a debate. I have an opinion. You have an opinion. I’ll act as my opinion dictates and sign the petition. If you don’t agree, don’t sign. I’m sure the ideal of democracy you have so strenuously supported in the past will win out in the end, so what does it matter so much to you?

  5. What does it matter? Well, some people attempt to base their opinions on facts. Some people, when presented with evidence that they have stated something as fact which is not actually true, try to rectify the error, so that they do not wilfully perpetuate misinformation.

    When you state your opinion in a public forum, people are going to disagree with you. If you “aren’t interested in having a debate”, then why respond? By doing so, you are perforce “having a debate”. You play the “I don’t want to have a debate” card to attempt to have the last word in a discussion (usually, it seems, right after someone has brought forward an argument you can’t adequately answer), so that you can “win” by default.

    The point isn’t to “win” by screaming the most loudly, or being the last man standing, or having the majority agree with you. The point is to determine what is true and what isn’t – for some people, at least.

  6. ooh, look, tag teaming. isn’t it cute.

    whatever. have the last word if you want. I’m not trying to ‘win’ because i honestly don’t need to convince you two of anything to feel validated. If you disgree, don’t sign. Simple as that.

  7. *shrug* why not just disable commenting?

    Actually, hmm, Blogspot doesn’t seem to let you do that.
    But you can restrict commenting to a membership list only.

  8. Well, it is my blog after all. to be honest, if i really felt threatened by something someone commented on this blog, i’d delete the comment. but really, i think the people who read this are intelligent enough to make their own decisions, so why bother? As I’ve said before, I don’t think that blog comments are the medium for getting into raging fights about politics. Drunk at a party is much better🙂

    As i warn on blogspot, “Caution: this blog contains opinions. Comments may contain nuts.”

    In fact, i think it’s time to change this blog’s description…

  9. Your claim that you have simply stated your opinion is untrue. You have also attempted to justify your opinion with statements that are false. Further, you have used this justification to encourage others to sign a petition. I commented only so that your readers might be aware of this and have the option of making a more informed decision.

    Implying that your commenters are nuts doesn’t make anything they write less true or less valid.

  10. Well seing that Moonlflake’s interest in this post has waned I’ve decided not to post my comments here. So see how I feel, check out my new posting. It’s the longest ever!

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