Home South African Road Accident Fund taken to task for non-payment of outstanding claims

Road Accident Fund taken to task for non-payment of outstanding claims

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A Pretoria law firm will ask the court to enforce payment of the outstanding money and it wants RAF’s CEO Collins Letsoalo to be held personally liable for the non-payment.

Road Accident Fund CEO Collins Letsoalo. Picture: Zelda Venter

PRETORIA – In the latest of a series of applications against the non-payment to claimants by the Road Accident Fund (RAF), a Pretoria law firm will later this month ask the court to enforce payment of the outstanding money.

In addition, the firm also wants RAF CEO Collins Letsoalo to be held personally liable for the non-payments.

The firm, K Malao Inc, is demanding the payment of millions of rand on behalf of its clients.

Kabelo Malao said in papers filed at the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, that the RAF reached agreements to pay by no later than June 12 to settle these bills, but to date the claims have not been paid. He said despite persistent questioning as to when payment would be forthcoming, the RAF’s “silence is deafening”.

Malao said this amounted to contempt of court. He is now also asking the court, on an urgent basis, to order the imprisonment of Letsoalo for 60 days for contempt, suspended for three years, on condition that he is not “again” guilty of contempt of court during this period.

In addition he wants the court to fine Letsoalo in his personal capacity R100,000, and slap him with the legal costs of the application which is due to be heard on August 16.

Malao said the court had ordered the RAF in April to make reasonable settlement offers in the case of his clients and gave it 30 days to settle the claims after the offers were accepted.

Malao and the RAF agreed on the amounts, but the deadline came and no payments in this regard were made.

He said his clients had waited a long time for compensation and were in a dire financial state, and questioned why they had to turn to the court yet again to enforce payments, and why the RAF did not honour court orders.

“The RAF is turning the judiciary and judicial proceedings into a circus … We have a CEO of the agency of the executive who does not believe the law applies to him,” Malao stated.

He added that there was a plethora of legal applications before the courts – often also brought by Letsoalo – in which he asked the courts to assist the RAF as it was in a dire financial situation.

Malao said it was not the courts’ function to bail out the RAF. He said in none of the applications brought by Letsoalo were its board or the Minister of Transport added as parties.

He said it was the board’s task, not the courts’, to manage the funds. Letsoalo and the RAF have until August 8 to file opposing papers.

In an unrelated case before the Mpumalanga High Court, Letsoalo said the RAF was in deep financial trouble.

In that case, three judges raised concerns about its ability to function, and asked how and when it would up its game. They said the courts were inundated with claims against the RAF daily, while it seemed the entity was not doing its part in ensuring the litigation process ran smoothly.

Part of the order asked in the Mpumalanga case is that Letsoalo foot the legal bill in a personal capacity, on a punitive scale. The matter will be back in court later this year, but Letsoalo recently filed an affidavit where he once again said the RAF’s financial resources were limited.

He said more than 90,000 claims were lodged against the RAF each year on average.

According to Letsoalo, the Covid-19 lockdown influenced the sale of petroleum – from which the RAF receives a levy. This he said, resulted in the RAF at the time losing out on billions each month.

He also said the RAF was on a daily basis inundated by fraudulent or inflated claims, and each claim had to be properly evaluated before being paid out.

Pretoria News

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