Department of Transport
25 July 2019
The Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill is to be revived.
The transport minister, Fikile Mbalula, confirmed this in a statement on the transport department’s priorities and the appointment of a new director-general.
He emphasized that the restructuring and turnaround of the Road Accident Fund is a key priority.
The bill was tabled in parliament in June 2017 and lapsed at the end of the 5th parliament.
It aims to provide a social security scheme for the victims of road accidents.
A Road Accident Benefit Scheme Administrator will be set up to implement and run the scheme.
The proposed legislation also aims to provide a set of defined benefits on a no-fault basis for injury or death arising from car accidents.
Some of the challenges the bill intends addressing include the introduction of a no-fault approach to compensation in response to problems identified with the current fault-based approach.
The adoption of a no-fault basis will also help to expand and improve access to benefits.
The transport department wants the bill to improve and simplify claims procedures.
The duties and powers of the envisaged Road Accident Benefit Scheme Administrator are laid down.
The bill will remove the possibility of civil action for damages in respect of injury or death arising from road accidents to be instituted against the owner or driver of a vehicle as well as the employer of the driver.
However, civil claims would still be able to be pursued for any accidents occurring prior to the enactment of the Road Accident Benefit Scheme Act.
The proposed legislation lists the benefits that will fall under its scope:
• Health care services
• Income support
• Family support
The procedure for claiming benefits is set down as well as the obligations of the claimant and beneficiary.
The administrator will have six months in which to accept or reject a claim.
If it is accepted, payment must be made to the claimant within 30 days of his or her notification of the acceptance.
The minister also announced that a new director-general for the department, Alec Moemi, has been appointed.
With regard to the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and e-tolls, the minister indicated that the department is “confident that we will meet the end of August deadline to place on the table a viable option on how to resolve the challenges facing us insofar as e-tolls are concerned”.
“I wish to reiterate that we are mindful of the demand to resolve e-tolls and we are therefore looking at solutions that will balance the need for the country to honour its obligations to pay the debt that continues to increase each year and the calls to reduce the burden on road users,” he said.
The urgent appointment of the National Ports Regulator (NPR) Board is another priority.
The department also plans to speed up the full implementation of the National Ports Act that includes the separation of the National Ports Authority from Transnet and placing it under the regulatory authority of the NPR.