RAF vs The Constitution: Only the Facts

Ok, some people have asked for only the facts of the RAF bill. i don’t normally rise to the kind of baiting that’s been going on here, but I’m tired of it now so this will be my last comment on this subject.

Here you go. Every single one of the following is a fact:

1. According the the Constitution, Chapter 1, Section 3, subsection 2, i quote “All citizens are equally entitled to the rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship.”

2. From same Constitution, Chapter 2, Section 34: “Everyone has the right to have any dispute that can be resolved by the application of law decided in a fair public hearing before a court or, where appropriate, another independent and impartial tribunal or forum.”

3. Again from same Constitution, Chapter 8, Section 173: “The Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and High Courts have the inherent power to protect and regulate their own process, and to develop the common law, taking into account the interests of justice. ”

4. All people who purchase petrol or pay for public transport and thus indirectly purchase petrol, have contributed into the road accident fund. Even if you do not qualify for the same benefits as other contributors, you are still required to contribute.

5. If the bill goes forward, only people with “serious” injuries will be deemed deserving of compensation for pain and suffering. Serious injuries are defined as disablement, paralysis, dysfunction of a vital organ, brain injury, or an injury as defined by the minister of transport. Even then there is a cap of R100,000 on claims for these.

6. If the bill goes forward, people who earn more than R13,000 per month will not be entitled to full compensation of lost earnings.

7. However, according to the department’s own statistics, less than 1% of the amount paid out annually is to this earning bracket.

7. If the bill goes forward, actuaries predict that medical aid premiums will rise considerably as medical aid schemes usually pay out and then are compensated by the fund. Reduce the amount of compensation, increase the cost to the medical aid, increase the cost to you.

8. The RAF bill will take away your right to litigate against the guilty party for compensation. This is in direct contravention of item 2 above, and item 3 in that the courts are not regulating the process in this regard, the government is.

9. The DA called the latter “an untenable position and a fundamental change to our Common Law rights.”

10. The IFP called the Bill a legal disaster.

11. The fund has been the focus of several allegations of corruption, fraud and embezzlement. Evidence has been found of applicants signing power of attorney on dates after their death, recording claims on dates prior to the accident, and in some cases the same details being used in several applications over a short period.

12. The head of the RAF was fired in May amid allegations of corruption.

13. The fund is over R18 million in the red. This is cited as being the reason for the reforms outlined in the bill.

14. In the report of the RAF commission 2002, Judge Kathy Satchwell noted that about 35 percent to 55 percent of the fuel levy income paid to the RAF did not reach victims of road accidents, but was spent on administration.

15. In this year’s budget, Manuel noted that over the past three years the revenue to the RAF had increased from R2,6-billion to R4,5-billion at an annual average increase of 20,3 percent.

These are all facts. Put them together in context and you can form your own opinion. If that opinion, like mine, is that the bill is unconstitutional, is a knee-jerk reaction to appear to be doing something about gross mismanagement, and is only going to result in the citizens being screwed while the officials still skim off the top, sign the petition.

3 Responses to “RAF vs The Constitution: Only the Facts”

  1. As an additional point, it is not just drivers and public transport users that contribute to the RAF. If you buy food, you indirectly ‘pay for petrol’. This is most obvious when an increase in petrol price creates a knock-on increase in food prices. They’ve gotta get the goods around somehow =) And this obviously applies to _everything_, not just food. So, we all pay, to greater or lesser degrees.

    What I don’t really understand, and I was talking to Chelle about this the other day, is why the RAF exists in the first place. Sure, not everyone has medical aid. Sure, not everyone has the wherewithal to take legal action against drunken drivers and the like. But would it not be a better option to set up a free legal-aid type system to help these people out? That way, the guilty party (or his insurance, where applicable) bears the brunt of the damages from a financial point of view, rather than the government (or rather, taxpayers). It’s also far harder to embezzle and defraud in a services-based industry rather than a purely cash-based one. The only money flowing through would be the lawyers’ and legal advisors’ salaries, and I can’t imagine they would be terribly high.

    Those are my thoughts. It seems to me as if the government are getting themselves involved in something that is really none of their business, and doing it in a terrible fashion to boot.

  2. in one of the opposition party speeches i linked to there was a suggestion that the entire mess could be sorted out by privatization of the fund. Like you say, there are certain things that it’s harder to get away with in industry than in government.

    An interesting thing about why the admin costs are so high for the fund: apparently the fund spends an enormous amount of money on frivilous appeals against claims! In other words they drag a claim back into court multiple times before it’s finally paid out, meaning escalated lawyers’ bills for the fund and long waits for payouts for the injured party. And they’re meant to be helping people.

  3. The reason we need a fund is because some people don’t have money or insurance. If a poor person gets hit by another poor person what are they suposed to do? The RAF is a compulsory insurance, exactly the same as UIF.

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