'Lawyers think I am a child'
A WOMAN who has been waiting for compensation from the Road Accident Fund for three years, is now fighting with her attorney who wants to give her the money in dribs and drabs.
Sesi Ngoma's husband, Johannes, died in a motor vehicle accident in 2006, leaving her with two children to raise.
Ngoma says that her husband had gone to visit a relative at a circumcision school in Delmas, Mpumalanga, when the accident happened.
She says she did not make a claim until 2009, when she met an employee working for Bothma Ing/ Inc Attorneys in Brakpan, Gauteng.
Ngoma, who earns her living selling pap en vleis at a station in Springs, Gauteng, said she was talking to a friend about her husband's death and her lack of knowledge on how to lodge a claim with the RAF, when a man overheard them and offered her advice.
The man, who introduced himself only as Bernard, also helped her to set up an appointment with the attorneys, who successfully lodged a claim on her behalf for past and future loss of support, she said.
Ngoma's case was finalised last year when the RAF agreed to compensate her, she says.
Ngoma says that after they returned from court, the attorney wanted her to sign documents giving him permission to pay out her compensation piecemeal .
"I refused. I can administer my own affairs and I don't understand why he wants to treat me like a child or a mad person. I am not a looney," Ngoma says.
The RAF deposited R536,393 into the Bothma Ing/ Inc Attorneys trust account in November last year.
Ngoma says that R438,098 was awarded for future loss of support. The balance was for past loss of support.
But she has not received a cent from the attorneys and they did not tell her that the claim had been settled, she says.
"It was only after I had telephoned the RAF to inquire about the payment that I was told that it had been paid last year already," she says.
Armed with a statement confirming payment, Ngoma approached her attorney and demanded her money back, only to be told that it had not been paid.
"It was only after I produced the statement that he admitted that they had received my money," Ngoma says.
She says that he told her that there were a number of claimants he had represented who have not received compensation from him.
"So I have to wait in the queue as well," Ngoma says.
She says she is totally against this.
"I have two children who are at school and cannot wait for Bothma to decide our future," Ngoma says.
Ngoma says her eldest son dropped out of tertiary education after his father died.
"His dreams of becoming an engineer were shattered when I could not raise the fees for his second term in 2007. I don't want that to happen to my youngest child too," she says.
Ngoma, who lives in an RDP house, says on a good day she makes R300 from her pap and vleis business.
She says Bothma Ing/Inc Attorneys also told her never to come to their offices without an appointment.
"What does he want me to do? He did not tell me about my payment and has not called me since I approached him in March," Ngoma says.
Attempts to get comment from Bothma Ing/Inc Attorneys were futile at first, but they later sent Consumer Line a statement.
The attorneys denied that they had withheld information about the receipt of payment. They also said that they had offered to give Ngoma a monthly allowance of R5,000 until they had drawn up their bill for the client.