The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) welcomes the decision by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport not to proceed with the Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS) and to propose to rather amend the Road Accident Fund Act.
This has been a long and difficult road. From the outset, the LSSA vigorously opposed RABS on the basis that it is not in the interest of the public.
When the first version of the RABS Bill was introduced in 2014, the LSSA commented and raised major criticism. The 2017 Bill was introduced to Parliament in 2017 but repeated verbatim much of the previous Bill.
The LSSA also submitted extensive comment on the 2017 Bill and addressed Parliament on various occasions. It also provided recommendations to Parliament in the form of a hybrid Bill.
‘Among the many concerns that the LSSA expressed about the Bill was the abolishment of the common law rights of innocent road accident victims to recover the balance of damages suffered by them, while negligent motorists would have been entitled to exactly the same compensation for damages, irrespective that they were the direct cause of the accident. Further, they would have been absolved of any financial responsibility towards innocent victims. We believe that this offended the public more,’ says LSSA President Mvuzo Notyesi.
‘The LSSA also believes that the exclusion of compensation for pain and suffering for those who are catastrophically injured; as well as the denial of loss of income benefits to those younger than 18 or older than 60; and the limitation of family support benefits to a maximum of 15 years, would have the most impact on the poor and vulnerable members of society, especially when coupled with the denial of any other remedy for compensation, Mr Notyesi adds.
By rejecting the RABS Bill, the Portfolio Committee on Transport of the 6th Parliament, has addressed many of the concerns raised by members of the public and interest groups throughout the public participation process. The LSSA is delighted that the Bill will not be pursued.
ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA, MVUZO NOTYESI
Nomfundo Jele nomfundom@LSSA.org.za Tel: (012) 366 8800 or 072 402 6344