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The debt of the Road Accident Fund (RAF) has grown from R46 billion to R72 billion over the last year. This was revealed today in a briefing by the Department of Transport to the Portfolio Committee on Transport.
The Department attributes this ballooning debt to the following:
the RAF have found that the medical costs are much higher in practise than was allowed for;
the payment of claims has not improved; and
outputs per staff member has gone down and the claims processing has slowed.
This entity has been struggling for years. This year, the RAF reached only 53% of its strategic targets.
To ensure that the RAF improves its capacity to support the victims of road accidents, a DA government would:
Improve the speed of payments to injured persons by instituting systems at all hospitals that would allow them to submit claims electronically – similar to the system used for claims from medical aids;
step up serious road engineering solutions, such as removing unsafe level crossings, limiting dangerous curves and improving road maintenance to prevent accidents;
implement a more robust Road Safety Plan with better capacitated traffic police, speed control and alcohol testing to reduce the number of accidents; and
introduce a different management model for this fund with benefits coverage that is more sustainable over the long term.
In the Western Cape, a successful road safety plan is already underway. The Department of Transport and the RAF therefore have no excuse, and must seriously start implementing concrete and sustainable proposals to pull the RAF out of the red as a matter of urgency.