RAF’s turnaround strategy sees claims being paid in four months

Cabinet says it has noted the Road Accident Fund (RAF) turnaround strategy, which has resulted in major improvements in the settlements of claims within 120 days and reduced legal costs by 75%.
Reduction in medical costs

The strategy has also seen a reduction of medical costs from R3.6 billion in the 2019/2020 financial year to R2.1 billion in the 2023/2024 financial year.

Cabinet, in a statement on Monday, said it had received a briefing on the implementation of the turnaround strategy for the RAF, aimed at simplifying the funds system while also improving the administration of benefits and payouts to accident victims.

Cabinet noted that a key intervention has been the launch of the RAF contact centre, which provides a platform for RAF claimants to have access to their claims information without having to solely rely on their legal representatives.

The platform also gives claimants the opportunity to verify the payments made by RAF to their legal representatives.

R23 billion cost saving

“The interventions also led to cumulative legal costs savings of over R23 billion in the three years of implementing the strategy. Moreover, the strategy interventions resulted in the reduction of claims paid to claimants/ short-term liability to R9.3 billion for the period ending 31 March 2023,” cabinet said in a statement.

Cabinet was also updated on legislative amendments to the current RAF Act, which are at an advanced stage.

“The RAF Amendment Bill will be considered by the 7th administration of government. The bill is aimed at refining the benefits and the payment of certain products in annuities and making it equitable,” cabinet said.

Bill cause for concern

Last October, Sunday World reported that legal experts were crying foul over the proposed changes to the Road Accident Fund, saying it would severely cut down on the support offered to road accident victims.

The Department of Transport gazetted the draft Road Accident Fund Amendment Bill, 2023 for public comment on September 8, giving commentators just one month to provide feedback on the bill.

Jessica Hanekom, an attorney with years of experience assisting road accident victims’ claims from the RAF, and some of her colleagues have started a petition to prevent significant changes regarding claims against the Road Accident Fund.

According to Hanekom, these will be some of the major changes that the Department of Transport intends to amend:

No More Lump Sum Payments: Instead of receiving the full claimed amount, the new rules suggest you’ll get it in smaller installments. This could make it challenging to cover crucial expenses like medical bills and everyday living costs. We’ve seen a similar situation with Workmen’s Compensation, and it didn’t work out well.

No Support for Families: If the person who was injured in the accident sadly passes away, the financial assistance stops. Even though it was intended to help the family, they won’t receive anything.

No Help for ‘Hit-and-Run’ Victims: If someone crashes into you and then flees the scene, you will not be able to claim. This is particularly unfair for people like pedestrians and cyclists who are regularly involved in such incidents.

No Help for Non-Citizens: If you’re not  South African, you will not be able to claim. This doesn’t seem fair or right.

– SAnews.gov.za and Sunday World

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