The DA has raised concerns about the proposed Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS) Bill.
In a statement released on Tuesday (4 September), the party’s Manny de Freitas said that the Bill was being discussed by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Meeting on Transport, but that there were still a number of issues with the legislation.
One of the biggest problems was the fact that the ‘no-fault’ system would also apply to drunk drivers in South Africa, he said.
“The RABS Bill proposes that anyone claiming from RABS (which would replace the current Road Accident Fund) would not require to prove if a vehicle crash was caused by any party involved in that crash. This means that even if an accident was caused by a person, that person will still be able to claim from the proposed RABS,” said de Freitas.
“So to confirm this, I specifically explained the above scenario to the Portfolio Committee. Unbelievably the ANC members all understood this and still agreed that the crazy draft legislation should go ahead as is.”
He added that the DA will continue fighting against the ‘mad legislation’.
The no-fault clause is not the only issue that has been leveled against the RABS Bill – with legal experts warning that its implementation will see fuel levies rising by an estimated 75% and reduced compensation being provided to road accident victims and their dependents.
“Other than the dire effect the bill will have on accident victims claims, the failure to highlight the anticipated and unavoidable increase in the fuel levy to the public in order to meet the funding requirements for RABS is especially disturbing, considering the latest outcry about the price of fuel and the fuel levy itself,” said Kirstie Haslam, a partner at DSC Attorneys.
She added that an analysis of the department’s own actuaries’ estimation of the implications on the fuel levy in terms of the anticipated funding requirements for RABS reveals that significant increases to the fuel levy are anticipated, bearing in mind that both systems, i.e both RABS and RAF, would have to run side-by-side for an estimated minimum of 8 to 10 years.
Haslam said that even on this conservative estimate, the fuel levy is set to increase by an initial 75% – which, even after ten years, will taper to a still significant one and a half times what it currently is.
“This has not been explained to the public to date and may very well influence their attitude to the RABS bill as it is being sold to them,” she said.
“The focus should be on fixing the current system as opposed to implementing something which is unknown, costly and inequitable – it is going to cost significantly more and most claimants will receive significantly less (and it will be harder to claim).”