As reported during July 2018, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport (the Committee) declared the Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill (the Bill) desirable, notwithstanding serious concerns that were raised regarding the proposed scheme by LSSA in written submissions made in 2014 and 2017 and in an oral presentation in May 2018 at the commencement of public hearings held by the Committee. Since then the LSSA has attended as an observer all the Committee meetings held in Parliament over the past several weeks and which culminated in a meeting on 13 September 2018 when the Committee completed the A-List procedure, thus paving the way for the Bill to be considered by the National Assembly during the fourth term, which starts on 8 of October 2018.
The Bill, inter alia, provides for no fault compensation, no general damages for pain and suffering, no lump sums (all benefits paid by way of pensions that cease on the death of the beneficiary), no common law rights to claim damages not covered by RABS (the guilty motorist bears no financial responsibility and gets the same benefits as the innocent victim, at the latter’s expense), medial tariffs that will not be acceptable to private health care practitioners meaning public health care, Administrator not liable to pay for the claimant’s legal or expert costs in presenting a claim or appealing a decision and no access to court except on review.
The Bill, in its current format, will have far-reaching effects on members of the public who will be have to process their claims without a lawyer, except for those wealthy enough to afford a lawyer.
The LSSA has been actively involved in opposing the Bill from inception and is currently weighing up all potential options to ensure that the rights of innocent road accident victims are sufficiently protected as envisaged under the Constitution.