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Controversy Surrounding Proposed Road Accident Fund Amendment Bill in South Africa

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

The Road Accident Fund Amendment Bill 2023, first released by the Department of Transport on September 8, is under intense scrutiny with more than 5,000 objections lodged. Anticipated to reshape the rights of motorists, passengers, and pedestrians, critics raise pertinent concerns about the potential impacts of this legislation on road accident victims.



This contentious legislation seeks to transform the Road Accident Fund (RAF) from a system of compensation to a social benefits model. However, detractors like Advocate Justin Erasmus, the chairperson of the Personal Injury Plaintiff Lawyers Association (PIPLA), caution this move could massively impact the economically disadvantaged by limiting benefits and restricting existing rights.


Erasmus further highlights two major changes, the transition to annuity payments from lump-sum payouts for loss of earnings, and the total eradication of compensation for pain, suffering, disfigurement, and shock. These changes, critics argue, stand as attempts to curb government payouts, especially citing the RAF's history of delays and mismanagement.



Dr. Herman Edeling, chairperson of The South African Medico-Legal Association (SAMLA), also voices concerns on the repercussions for the medically injured. Patients lacking financial means may find indispensable medical treatments unaffordable and inaccessible.


Additional points of controversy include the restriction of coverage to public roads only, exclusion of compensation for hit and run victims, denial of compensation to non-South African citizens or non-permanent residents, and exclusion of compensation for individuals over the legal alcohol limit, regardless of fault.


Layton Beard from the Automobile Association of South Africa emphasizes the potential vulnerability of pedestrians. Erasmus also warns about the potential ramifications for medical aid schemes, foreseeing increased premiums and potential care delays due to the RAF's prerequisite of pre-authorisation for medical claims.


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