Re: Proposed RAF Amendment Bill 2003
On behalf of the Association and its membership and surely our future membership, I would like to make representations in respect of the proposed amendments.
We are strongly opposed to certain of the amendments and I list the following below:
1. Payments of general damages and loss of earning capacity by installments, I strongly oppose the payment by installments because:
1.1. With the installment system, there is no opportunity to start the re-integration as no capital to finance any sort of adjustment initially needed, which is usually the most expensive.
1.2. The opportunity to regain dignity and independence and freedom will be regulated by the very same installments proposed.
1.3. Funds mare readily available for the purchasing of medical and allied equipment before attempting to reclaim thee expenditures from the RAF, once an undertaking has been issued.
1.4. No details have been given as to how the installments will be paid, when, and in what form. The victim will be at the mercy of the RAF.
2. Undertakings simply donít work, whilst in principle, they are well intended, the RAF often does not pay them and many times the recipient has to re-engage the RAF in a dispute to get the RAF to approve a purchase and this creates an umbilical cord with an attorney for further dispute resolution with the RAF. Our members experience with the RAF Undertakings Department is that they are obstructive, unhelpful and make my members lives a misery as they go for long periods without the treatment and equipment they need and often result in them not bothering to use the undertaking and therefore suffering further. The Satchwell report states that only 14.8% of recipients use their undertakings and to exemplify this tragedy, 90.8% of all undertakings to Blacks are dormant. They simply donít have the representation and infrastructure to reclaim their right that undertakings give them. The basis of the undertaking is that you have to first incur the cost and then recover, which visits extreme hardships and prejudice on indigent claimants who cannot afford to pay for the medical treatment and equipment up front.
3. Satchwell states on page 643 (22.136) of her report that clearly the proposed amendments are motivated to reduce the RAFís expenditure and thereby the expectation of denying compensation and saving money is probably well founded. The efficacy of undertakings and the interest of disabled claimants appear to have played no part in the funds proposals.
4. We notice of the list of persons consulted in the proposed amendments and certainly question, whether these persons were actually consulted, but most importantly, WE were not consulted and we feel that no amendments of this nature can be proposed, without our input as it is our very membership whom this bill will affect the most.
At no stage has our organisation been approached and we will now do the utmost to oppose these proposed amendments, which are unjust, unfair, unreasonable and crippling, to say the least.
Should these amendments go through, those seriously injured victims from road accidents including all spinal cord injured will have had their human rights transgressed immediately over and above their serious injury, and it will eventually be our organisationsí financial responsibility to see to their lifestyles and livelihoods and we will bear the brunt of this transgression of a fund whose purpose for compensating road accident victims will be diluted or diminished.
We insist to be consulted before this amendment is implemented.