Objections flood in

Objections flood in

Various stakeholders have raised concerns about the proposed amendments to the Road Accident Fund released by the Department of Transport on September 8.


More than 5 000 objections have been registered against the proposed Road Accident Fund Amendment Bill of this year.

Critics argue that if passed, it could limit compensation options for drivers, passengers and pedestrians injured in vehicle accidents.

The Road Accident Fund’s primary role is to provide compensation for various aspects, including medical expenses and rehabilitation. However, the recently proposed amendments to the Road Accident Fund have sparked significant opposition. The Department of Transport published the Amendment Bill on September 8, allowing less than a month for public feedback. The key shift in the proposed amendments is a move from “compensation” to a “social benefits” structure.

Advocate Justin Erasmus, the chairperson of the Personal Injury Plaintiff Lawyers Association, is collaborating with several law societies to voice concerns about these proposed amendments. Erasmus highlights several significant restrictions on existing rights, with loss of earnings being a primary concern. Under the new system, claimants would receive annuity payments instead of a lump sum for loss of income. If a claimant passes away before receiving all annuities, their heirs would inherit nothing, raising further concerns.

Another concerning exclusion pertains to pain and suffering, as claimants would no longer receive compensation for pain, suffering, disfigurement and shock, as these damages would be abolished.

Erasmus believes that these amendments are an attempt to reduce government payouts to victims rather than providing them with their rightful compensation.

Doctor Herman Edeling, chairperson of the South African Medico-Legal Association, shares the concern from a medical perspective. He emphasises the potential harm to disadvantaged individuals who may struggle to afford upfront medical expenses under the new bill.

Other noteworthy exclusions involve accidents off public roads, hit and run incidents, and compensation eligibility for non-South African citizens and individuals over the legal alcohol limit. Medical aid members could also face increased premiums as the proposed changes do not allow reimbursement for expenses covered by medical aid or insurance.

Furthermore, all future medical claims would require pre-authorisation by the Road Accident Fund, potentially causing delays in urgently needed care.

The proposed amendments also raise questions about the right to sue wrongdoers for damages not recovered from the Road Accident Fund, a right that innocent victims have been denied since 2008.

The proposed amendments impact all South Africans and concerned citizens have until October 6 to lodge their complaints on the Dear South Africa website.

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