Declare the Road Accident Fund an Essential Service

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The RAF (Road Accident Fund) was closed on 27 March as it was not deemed an essential service. It is still closed to date! Victims of road accidents are now also victims of the State. APRAV (Association for the Protection of Road Accident Victims) wrote a letter to Ministers Mbalula and Dlamini-Zuma on 15 April, requesting that the RAF be declared an essential service during the COVID-19 lockdown. We received acknowledgement of receipt, but no answers. Taking into account: (1) the constitutional rights involved, (2) the availability of a well-established mechanism to dispense support to road crash victims and (3) the dire position of thousands of claimants who have been waiting for years for their lawful compensation: The continued delay of RAF claims is misaligned with almost all other relevant lockdown related decisions, to assist some of the most vulnerable in the South African society.

On 30 April we learned that the Minister of Transport did not classify the RAF as a level 4 essential service. This means that these road crash victims are deemed NOT ESSENTIAL!? This is ludicrous, unfair and illogical! SA’s social security network consists of core components like Child & Disability Grants, the UIF, the Compensation Commissioner and the RAF. Government’s focus on assisting the public and the poor during the lockdown is obvious and almost all conventional rules of budgeting and adapting various systems have been geared towards alleviating the plight of the poor and the most vulnerable in the South African society.

One could somehow make sense of a ‘closed RAF’ during the Level 5 lockdown. But the continued closure of the RAF and the way in which it is detrimental to RAF claimants, cannot possibly be justified. No meaningful explanation has been provided for this decision. APRAV has again requested that some of the RAF functions be declared an essential service. We firmly believe that the intentions of the lockdown as well as progressing very needed claim payments to thousands of members of the public, can meaningfully be balanced.

We need your support to convince Government to 'open' the RAF.

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