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Bill allowing for Road Accident Fund replacement published

May 05 2015 20:08
Ahmed Areff

Johannesburg - A new bill that provides for the replacement of the Road Accident Fund (RAF) with a new agency has been published for comment, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Tuesday.

In her department's budget speech in Parliament, Peters said the Road Accident Benefit Scheme (Rabs) Bill provided for the establishment of the Road Agency Benefit Scheme Administrator (Rabsa).

"The bill has been published for public comment, and consultations sessions were held throughout the country with various stakeholders. The bill proposes a comprehensive social security safety net scheme that is not fault-based," she said.

"It will allow expanded access to much needed benefits to road users. These include the public and private transport passengers; widows, orphans and many other dependents, previously and currently excluded by virtue of fault."

Peters mentioned that the RAF had been used as a "cash-cow by unscrupulous stakeholders including lawyers and doctors..."

"Our government, cannot allow the abuse and theft of funding from road users through the RAF fuel levy, meant to alleviate the financial burden that result from the carnage on our roads, to be siphoned off to benefit the middleman and a privileged few," she said.

"Our courts are clogged with RAF matters causing much consternation on our justice system. The unintended consequences of an unjust system, which for decades has seen many benefitting unfairly through abusing the system to receive millions of rands from the Fund whilst those deserving of compensation get limited compensation."

She said her department and RAF had fought many legal battles to provide fair benefit, while closing many loopholes.

"Through various engagements with communities and victims, it is disheartening to hear of stories where benefits don’t address the injury, loss of life or the suffering of victims or their dependants, because of the way RAF benefits are structured," Peters said.

"With Rabs, that will be a thing of the past, as it will introduce defined benefits, timely and appropriate care based on reasonable tariffs. Rabs will alleviate the burden on our courts through the establishment of an internal appeal procedure."  

The agency, which recently turned 18, has recently been accused of fraud, and has a large backlog of claims which had not been paid out to accident victims.

Peters also said on Tuesday the SA National Roads Agency Limited would receive additional funding.

"Government is investing R1.1bn in the upgrade of the R573 Moloto Road," she said.

"We have also set aside R12.5bn for Sanral’s non-toll roads, which constitutes 85% of the national road network of 21 403km across the country."

The breakdown of the transport budget tabled on Tuesday was:

- Road infrastructure at R22.7bn
- Rail at R18.3bn
- Public Transport at R11.5bn
- Civil Aviation at  R149m and
 -Maritime at R111m.

raf  |  dipuo peters  |  legislation


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