APRAV is a young non profit organisation that was formed by a group of concerned professionals. Our aim is to protect the rights of the South African people who have been effected by the tragic events of accidents on our roads.
How APRAV was formed
The Association for the Protection of Road Accident Victims (“APRAV”) was established by concerned parties responding to the Road Accident Benefit Scheme (“RABS”) Bill, published by the Department of Transport on 9 May 2014.
After perusing the proposed RABS Bill and attending a workshop on same, held in Pretoria on 19 June 2014, it became clear to the members of APRAV that the RABS Bill is not reasonable, fair, equitable, practical, sustainable or cost effective. The RABS Bill, in its current form, has far-reaching adverse effects on the Republic of South Africa and its road users. It is the impression of APRAV that information pertaining to the adverse effects is not being properly disclosed to interested persons and that many are and will be left in the dark until it is too late.
The problem with RABS
- The RABS Bill –
- will replace the existing Road Accident Fund, which is based upon the common law claim for damages (i.e. based on compensation) with a Road Accident Benefit Scheme Administration (“RABSA”) which is based upon certain prescribed statutory benefits (i.e. based on granting a limited benefit) on a so-called “no fault” basis;
- allows the wrongdoer, even a wilful wrongdoer, from claiming benefits from the RABSA on equal footing to that of the victim, which will discouraging road safety and compliance with the rules and regulations of road usage in South Africa;
- excludes and / or limits its liability to contribute to a road accident victim’s cost, including legal or medical cost, to prepare and submit a claim or an appeal;
- excludes a road accident victim’s right to claim any damages suffered over and above the benefits provided for, from the wrongdoer, which will force a substantial number of road users to take out expensive personal insurance cover;
- excludes a road accident victim’s right to claim general damages for, amongst other things, pain and suffering, loss of amenities of life, emotional trauma, etc., from RABSA or the wrongdoer;
- will cripple the already overburdened public health sector;
- determines loss of income according to a prescribed formula at 75 % of pre-accident earnings less a person’s post-accident earning capacity (in this regard it should be noted that students, children and the unemployed do not have pre-accident earnings and will be entitled to a pre-accident earning of +-R49 000.00 per annum only, notwithstanding prospects of future employment and earnings), which excludes prospective future income (i.e. the earning potential of a person), inflation and any income to be earned after the age of 60, which loss of income is payable in monthly instalments only, rendering road accident victims dependent upon the RABSA, without the opportunity to invest and otherwise grow such income;
- will limit funeral contributions to R10 000.00;
- terminates benefits granted upon the death of a beneficiary, leaving his or her estate deprived;
- makes it an offence by a driver, or if the driver is not the owner then by an owner, to fail to report a road accident to the RABSA within 30 days after the accident, alternatively within 30 days after being in a position to report same, which, if convicted, renders such driver and / or owner liable to pay a fine not exceeding R50 000.00 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding3 months;
- forces road accident victims to comply with numerous extensive and cumbersome procedures and requirements, without the assistance of legal or other experts, before he or she is entitled to claim;
- provides that the RABSA will be the proverbial judge, jury and> executioner which will manage road accident victims’ claims, determine the nature and extent of benefits provided to them and internally hear and determine appeals from aggrieved persons, without the right to appeal to the courts;
- excludes liability of the RABSA for any act or omission done >in “good faith” in the exercise of any power or performance of any duty imposed or conferred by or under Bill, unless intentional wrongdoing is proved (in other words excluding RABSA’s liability for negligence in respect of a road accident victim’s claim);
- limits claims of a road accident victim to certain benefits “>as provided for in the Bill”, which benefits are limited benefits and insufficient to properly compensate road accident victims for all damages suffered them;
- will unreasonably burden taxpayers at the expense of individual road accident victims, a so-called pay more for less effect;
- severely restricts the rights of non-residents to claim benefits (non-residents include South Africans who are absent from the Republic for a period of longer than six months per year, for the three years preceding the road accident or any consecutive three year period thereafter);
- does not place a duty on the RABSA to inform a road accident victim of the outcome on whether his or her claim has been accepted or rejected and should the RABSA fails to advise the road accident victim of the acceptance or rejection within 180 days, the claim is presumed to be rejected, obliging the vulnerable road accident victim to lodge an appeal within 30 days after such date of presumed rejection.
- May be unconstitutional as compared to similar existing legislation, notably the Compensation of Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 193 of 1993 it abolishes the road accident victims common law right to claim damages and affords victims inferior benefits. S 36(1)(a) of COIDA retains the common law right and allows for benefits based on actual income while RABSA uses the concept “national average” which does not exist.
- The RABS Bill does not sufficiently take into account its implications on the social, economical, health and other related sectors of South Africa nor does it take into account the realities facing the majorities of South Africans, such as unemployment, lack of transport and communications infrastructure. The financial implications of the proposed system have also not been disclosed to the public.
- It essentially retains the governance and administration of the current RAF which takes approximately 55 months to finalise a claim and which costs the motorist who solely contributes to the proposed fund an inordinate amount. This is contrary to the intention to introduce a social security scheme where social security schemes are controlled an administered by government departments.
- APRAV seeks to –
- inform the public in respect of the full impact of the RABS Bill on road users and road accident victims;
- protect the rights of road accident victims to be properly compensated for and assisted to claim all damages suffered due to or as a result of road accidents, including monetary, emotional, physical and / or other related damages;
- address the issues pertaining to the RABS Bill, including unreasonable omissions, limitations, exclusions and prohibitions and to prevent same from being adopted;
- assist to develop and establish a truly equitable and reasonable sustainable system of compensation, to the benefit of the public;
- to establish a platform for industry involvement in the legislative process.
- It will be impossible for the RABS Bill to be truly equitable and reasonable without proper consultation with and input from the entire industry.