Victims accuse RAF of being law unto itself
It's not always advisable to lodge a road accident claim on your own if you don't have the expertise to do so.
The Road Accident Fund has been accused of being a law unto itself by two road accident victims who alleged that the RAF has not paid their compensation despite its offers being made to pay them.
Sponono Ntshangase has been waiting for 17 years, while Leuntle Ison Mosongwane has been waiting for 11 months for compensation to be paid according to a court order issued in October.
Mpho Ntshangase's bone of contention is that the RAF awarded her daughter R200,000 without any medical report.
"When presented with the medical report RAF ignored it, but closed my daughter's claim instead," Ntshangase said.
Sponono, 20, was three years old and in the company of her brother Themba, when a taxi driver allegedly lost control of his vehicle and knocked down and dragged Themba for a considerable distance.
Sponono sustained head injuries, dislocated shoulders and knee caps during the accident, Ntshangase said.
Themba, on the other hand, was left with a broken neck, missing teeth and a cracked skull, the mother said.
Ntshangase said a doctor who examined Sponono told her that her daughter's brain was expanding and attempted to close the gap left open where her skull was fractured.
Ntshangase said she approached the RAF after she was advised that it would be quicker if she did so on her own without enlisting the services of an attorney.
She added that her experience with RAF officials was horrendous as she was once told that her child was born with mental incapacity and that she just wanted to cash in from the fund.
When Themba turned 21 he was made to sign and accept an offer of R120,000 despite his mental incapacity, Ntshangase said.
"My daughter was offered R200,000 which I felt was an insult considering her injuries," she said. She said they did not get the promised money from the RAF.
Although her case was re-assessed after medical reports were submitted, her case was never finalised and no compensation has been paid, Ntshangase told Consumer Line.
Calvin Makhuva a senior Q&A complaints officer at the RAF, said he could not comment on the Ntshangase matter as her file was stored at an office off-site and an urgent request for it takes five to seven working days.
Mosongwane shared a similar experience and accused the RAF of being a law unto itself.
Mosongwane, 31, of Pimville, Soweto, said he employed the services of Muleya Attorneys after he was injured in an accident in December 2013.
He said the taxi he was travelling in to Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, overturned, leaving him with an injured pelvic bone and fractured ankle.
Mosongwane said he was hospitalised for 10 weeks and since then he has not been employed as he was declared permanently disabled.
The father of two said the matter went to the high court and the RAF was subsequently ordered to pay R500,000 in settlement of his general damages.
"It was ordered to pay reasonable taxed full cost of counsel and the cost for a medical report and consultation fees, but they have paid all these service providers
except me," Mosongwane said.
He said the issue of loss of earnings was postponed to a date yet to be determined.
His attorney, Muleya, has written one letter to the RAF demanding the release of his money but was equally ignored by the fund. "If RAF could ignore a high court order against them what else are they doing to people with no legal representatives to fight their matters?" Mosongwane asked .
A letter of demand, which Consumer Line has seen, shows that Muleya Attorneys tried to get the RAF to pay Mosongwane's general damages in which he also threatens the RAF with a writ of execution should it fail to pay immediately.
"This was in January and no writ of execution has been issued yet," said Mosongwane.
Though Makhuva confirmed receipt of Mosongwane's complaint, he had not
responded at the time of going to print.