Road Accident Fund Amendment Draft Bill 2014

Call for comments opened 12 November 2014 Share this page:

Transport

The Department of Transport has published the Road Accident Fund Amendment Draft Bill, and has asked for comments from the public.

Bill seeks to amend the Road Accident Fund Act, 1996 so as to
▪ insert a new definition;
▪ provide the Fund with the power to determine and amend the forms;
▪ regulate the manner in which a final court order sounding in money against the Fund must be satisfied;
▪ to require the Minister to prescribe a list of injuries that are deemed serious;
▪ authorise the Fund to offer a cost contribution with the offer of compensation;
▪ require the Fund to pay compensation for accommodation, treatment and the rendering or supplying of a service, on a no-fault basis, for an initial period;
▪ require the Fund to pay compensation for accommodation, treatment and the rendering or supplying of a service in accordance with the tariff prescribed by the Minister;
▪ require the Fund to pay only specified funeral expenses, on a no-fault basis, limited to a maximum proven amount;
▪ harmonise the prescription regime for claims;
▪ require the Minister to make regulations to prescribe a list of injuries that will be deemed serious;
▪ require the Minister to prescribe a single tariff.

Comments can be emailed to should be directed to Mr John Motsatsing at Motsatsj@dot.gov.za or Ngwako Thoka at ThokaN@dot.gov.za by no later than Wednesday, 3 December 2014.

Enquiries can be directed to Mr John Motsatsing on tel (012) 309 3574 or Ngwako Thoka on tel (012) 309 3764

Background and current Regulatory Framework
The Road Accident Fund Act, 1996 (Act No. 56 of 1996) (the Act), provides for the payment of compensation for loss or damage wrongfully caused by the driving of motor vehicles. The Act was amended by the Road Accident Fund Amendment Act, 2005 (Act No. 19 of 2005) (the Amendment Act), which came into operation on 1 August 2008. The objects of the Amendment Act were to improve the governance of the Fund, provide for a more equitable, fair and transparent compensation system, whilst limiting the liability of the Fund. One of the amendments introduced by the Amendment Act is the regulation of the Fund's obligation to compensate a claimant for hospital or medical expenses in accordance with one of two tariffs. One tariff provides for emergency medical treatment and was negotiated with health care providers (the Emergency Treatment Tariff). The other tariff was based on the tariffs for health services provided by public health establishments contemplated in the National Health Act, 2003 (Act No. 61 of 2003) (the Non-Emergency Treatment Tariff). The Non-Emergency Treatment Tariff was successfully challenged by the Law Society of South Africa and others and was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court, on 25 November 2010, in the case of Law Society of South Africa & others v Minister for Transport & another 120101 JOL 26483 (CC). The Constitutional Court ordered that: "Until the Minister for Transport prescribes a new tariff for health services in terms of section 17(48)(a) of the Road Accident Fund Act, a third party who has sustained bodily injury and whom the Road Accident Fund is obliged to compensate as contemplated in sections 17(4)(a), 17(5) and (6) of the Road Accident Fund Act, is entitled to compensation or health services as if he or she had been injured before the Road Accident Fund Amendment Act, 19 of 2005 came into operation." The Emergency Medical Tariff is currently still in force. No tariff is in force for medical treatment that is not emergency medical treatment. The application of the Emergency Medical Tariff, in the absence of the Non-Emergency Tariff, creates uncertainty and gives rise to disputes. The administration of a two-tariff system further adds administrative complexity to the system. The Department of Transport, on 8 February 2013, published the Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill, 2013 for comment. The envisaged new no-fault benefit scheme will replace the existing fault-based scheme administered by the Road Accident Fund. Upon commencement of the new no-fault scheme the Road Accident Fund will cease to exist and all its assets, liabilities, rights and obligations, existing as well as accruing, will devolve upon the new Administrator. The new Administrator will therefore also continue to administer claims under the Act, which claims arose before the commencement of the new no-fault scheme, and which claims may in certain instances be lodged up to 18 years, and even later, after the cause of action arose. Consequently the Act will, irrespective of the establishment of the new no-fault scheme, continue to have effect for several years.