The Portfolio Committee on Transport has invited interested persons and stakeholders to submit written comments on the Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS) Bill [B17 – 2017] by Thursday, 30 November 2017.
The Bill seeks to:
- provide for a social security scheme for the victims of road accidents;
- establish the Road Accident Benefit Scheme Administrator to administer and implement the scheme;
- provide a set of defined benefits on a no-fault basis to persons for bodily injury or death caused by or arising from road accidents;
- exclude liability of certain persons otherwise liable for damages in terms of the common law; and
- provide for matters connected therewith.
The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) has in the past expressed serious reservations with the fundamental flaws underlying the RABS Bill, including:
- The abolition of the fault-based system of road accident compensation that has been in place since 1946 and imposes a system of no fault benefits as part of a comprehensive social security system. The LSSA queried the implications of this on the innocent road accident victim.
- The wrongdoer will effectively escape from any financial responsibility for the consequences of his or her negligence. Even those guilty of a criminal offence are ‘protected,’ under clause 28 of the Bill.
- An innocent road accident victim has access only to the limited benefits provided in terms of the RABS Bill, which the Memorandum of Objects on the Bill points out is not based upon liability insurance principles, but social insurance principles.
- The Bill will leave the innocent injured party or a deceased breadwinner’s family, through no fault of their own, without any right to fair and equitable compensation from the wrongdoer. Despite this, the Bill claiming that the benefit scheme is ‘reasonable, equitable, affordable and sustainable’.
- To add insult to injury, the wrongdoer, if injured in the same accident, receives exactly the same benefits,’ the LSSA said.
- The LSSA has stressed that this is an entirely different scenario for the Constitutional Court to consider and added that, should RABS be enacted with the abolition of common law rights, the LSSA will have consider challenging the current clause 28 as unconstitutional.
- The current draft Bill also excludes liability on the part of the administrator for any medical or legal costs to prepare and to submit a claim or an appeal or to meet any requirement of the Act.
Comment to the LSSA
The closing date for written submissions to the LSSA (for potential annexation as part of the LSSA’s comments) is 27 November 2017 by e-mail to kris@LSSA.org.za.
Comment direct to the Portfolio Committee on Transport
Practitioners and stakeholders are encouraged to submit comments directly to the Portfolio Committee on Transport, for attention:
Valerie Carelse at firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than Thursday, 30 November 2017. Enquiries can be addressed to Valerie Carelse at email@example.com or 021 403 3272 or 083 709 8445.