An 18-year-old Kimberley woman has R4m to her name after settling a claim with the Road Accident Fund. But activists fighting plans to replace the bankrupt fund say child accident victims like her will be left in penury under the new scheme.
Victim-support activists say the bill outlining the new Road Accident Benefit Scheme “lacks humanity” because it prevents children launching claims until they are 18 and “neglects to properly assess reduced earning potential”.
The bill hopes to create a more efficient and cost-effective way of recompensing road accident victims‚ but opponent Kirstie Haslam said its proposals on child claimants were “nothing short of a human rights violation”.
Haslam‚ from the Association for the Protection of Road Accident Victims‚ said: “A child’s pre-accident earning potential and career prospects are to be totally ignored.”
Simphiwe Jikelo* was 14 when she suffered serious head injuries in a crash that killed her elder sister. She has neuro-cognitive damage‚ and her mother said: “I just realised that she wasn’t quite right‚ her character had changed and she was different.”
Doctors told her parents she would struggle to study for a degree and would need further medical care‚ prompting them to lodge a claim with the RAF which was handled by Cape Town attorneys.