National Council for and of Persons with Disabilities and the Law Society of South Africa v Minister of Transport, Road Accident Fund and Another (GJ) (case no 039100/2022) (Tolmay J)
This media statement is issued as a follow-up to the LSSA’s prior media statement issued on 21 December 2022 concerning the above matter which is a constitutional challenge to the medical tariffs promulgated by the Minister of Transport on 19 August 2022 applicable to victims of car accidents claiming from the Road Accident Fund (the RAF). In terms of these tariffs the RAF would only pay much less than the actual costs incurred leaving the accident victim out of pocket and with no other remedy. These tariffs also do not cover certain critical services – such as air ambulances by helicopter – which places road accident victims at serious risk.
The LSSA and the National Council for and of Persons with Disabilities were thus forced to bring a challenge to the tariffs, and to seek urgent interim relief after the RAF refused to provide an undertaking that the tariffs would be suspended until such time as a legal review of the tariffs could be heard.
On 15 December 2022, the honourable Madam Justice Tolmay delivered an urgent judgment granting an interim interdict suspending the operation of the tariffs.
In terms of the judgment delivered by Judge Tolmay on 15 December 2022, the Court expressed its displeasure with the RAF’s opposition to the application in circumstances where the Minister of Transport did not oppose the granting of the interim order. The Court also granted a punitive costs order against the RAF on account of the “contemptuous attitude” shown by it toward the directives issued by the Court leading up to the hearing of the application. The Court further invited the CEO of the RAF, Mr Collins Letsoalo and its Chairperson, Ms Thembihle Msibi, to file affidavits to explain why they should not be held liable personally to pay the costs.
Despite the granting of the interim interdict on 15 December 2022 and the refusal of the RAF’s application for leave to appeal on 21 February 2023:
- The RAF’s website and social media accounts include no indication to the public of the granting of the interim interdict or that the RAF’s application for leave to appeal has been dismissed.
- The RAF’s website includes the “RAF Medical Tariffs” promulgated on 19 August 2022, despite the operation of those tariffs having been suspended pending the outcome of the review proceedings.
- The RAF has refused to answer the applicants’ letters asking for confirmation that the RAF considers the interim interdict binding while the RAF prosecutes appeals to higher courts.
The LSSA seeks through this media statement to update the public on the current status of the medical tariffs. The position is that by Judge Tolmay’s two judgments, the impugned tariffs are suspended until such time as the future review application has been determined, and they remain suspended despite the RAF’s attempts to lodge an appeal.
The review proceedings are pending and are currently set down to be heard as a special allocation in May 2023.
ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, MABAENG LENYAI
Mapula Oliphant: email@example.com
Tel: (012) 366 8800 or 076 026 5997