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Gauteng Judge Mlambo Defends Judicial Oversight Over RAF Settlements

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

Gauteng Judge President, Dustan Mlambo, has vehemently defended the rights of judges to question the nature of a judgment, notably in the context of Road Accident Fund (RAF) settlements. This defense was spurred by the scrutiny faced by Acting Judge, Zubair Khan, of the Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, for refusing to straightforwardly ratify a R3.1 million RAF settlement.

The settlement in question was filed by an overachieving law student named Catherine Smit, who argued that a car accident she suffered as an infant left her brain-damaged. Smit's initial claim of R206 000 against the RAF ultimately spiraled to R10.3 million after an expert opined that she might have already secured a PhD, had the accident not occurred.

Khan's scrutiny of the case arrived following his doubts over the 'veracity' of the car crash damages, that Smit began alleging some 22 years post the incident. His skepticism and consequential refusal to approve the settlement attracted criticism from a self-proclaimed "RAF Advocates Group" on WhatsApp.

However, underlining the judiciary’s role as more than rubber stamps, Mlambo backed Khan, defending his, and by extension, every judge's right, to guard against baseless or inflated claims.

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