As an attorney that quite frequently deals with the Road Accident Fund, I have a substantial interest, on behalf of my client, in the survival of the Fund.
As it currently stands it appears that the Fund's cashflow management systems are in total disarray as various applications to freeze the Fund's bank account has been heard in the Gauteng High Courts.
It further appears that not only has the account been frozen on various occasions but an application for the Liquidation of the Fund has been filed.
The Road Accident Fund in turn rushed to court in an attempt to prevent the Sheriff from further attaching and removing its movable property and its bank account, citing the fact that as a result of these removals and attachments the claimants are being prejudice against as the Fund is unable to do its statutory function i.e. compensating the most vulnerable, the persons injured in motor vehicle accidents.
Although I reserve my right to comment on this action by the Fund, it needs to be mentioned that the current situation that it is precisely that the Road Accident Fund is failing those most vulnerable and failing to comply with their statutory obligation.
In 2018 the amount received from the fuel levy by the Fund amounted to R8,8 billion rand per year. In the same year the Road Accident Fund paid an amount of R6.6 billion rand towards Legal Fees, which left a measly amount of R1,2 billion rand to be paid to the actual victims themselves.
The Road Accident fund now in the papers filed in these various court battles against amongst others its own panel attorneys, cites that the legal fees are as a result of the overreaching of its panel attorneys.
As a litigant who has on various occasions litigated against the Fund my opinion substantially differs from that of the Fund. I have found that the Fund will either not provide its panel attorneys with all the relevant details of the matter before hand or will basically instruct the attorney to delay the matter as cashflow is a concern.
It further needs to be mentioned that the Fund has fired all its panel attorneys and now intends to run its own civil litigation. This is truly non-sensical and disingenuous due to the fact that the Fund cannot at this stage even ensure that a claim is settled or discussed within the 180 day period provided for in the act after receipt of the claim.
In another judgement Judge Fisher actually gave support and recommended that Fund be Liquidated due to the fact that the Court was of the view that the Fund over settled certain matters as a result of either incompetence, lack of interest or even as a result of the Plaintiff's attorneys and Plaintiff's experts in calculating the claims.
I respectfully cannot agree that the fault is with the Plaintiff's experts or attorneys, the Fund has its own experts on call who are there to justify the expert statements of the Plaintiffs. But in practice what happens is that the Fund in some instances does not even instruct those experts and solely rely on the experts of the Plaintiffs.
I truly hope that it is not the end of the Fund, but I fear that the Fund established to help injured persons, orphans and people alike is going in the same route as Eskom, SAA, and all the other state owned entities.