Law firms are ripping off RAF claimants: Chikunga

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Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga has explained to Parliament how law firms are ripping off claimants through the Road Accident Fund (RAF). Adding that the legislation needs to be amended to favour claimants and not lawyers.

The RAF appeared before SCOPA on the status of its legal tussle with the Office of the Auditor-General due to a disagreement after the entity changed its accounting policy. Some SCOPA members expressed concerns at the state of affairs at the RAF, saying it’s always embroiled in litigation.

There are also complaints from claimants who are not satisfied with the services they receive while the shareholder acknowledges that there are challenges at the entity, it says the legislation favours lawyers, than claimants.

“RAF paid a claimant through the lawyer R5.6 million, the lawyers, a white company lawyers, paid the claimant R57 000. They didn’t pay the claimant at least the R 600 000. They remain with the R5 million,” says Chikunga.

The entity has requested to be given until the end of January to decide on its court case with the AG and has defended itself from changing its accounting standards policy.

“RAF is a social benefit fund that is instituted in terms of RAF act, so currently those two standards actually, they don’t result in a fair presentation of the state of affairs of this social benefit fund,” says RAF Board Chairperson Zanele Francois.

SCOPA has cautioned against this.

“This sends into motion a very dangerous slippery slope of a precedent of negotiated audit outcomes. We can’t have that and when the statutory bodies place it on the table that it’s not correct and I’m being mild here should we not explore our options as parliament of joining the court process amicus,” says SCOPA chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa.

SCOPA has criticised RAF saying the entity is dragging this matter for over a period of time, adding it will be the first entity they call to come to account next year.

Video: SCOPA follow-up meeting with the Road Accident Fund