Accident victim fights for RAF payments
Carly Bonnesse (24) – left brain damaged and paralysed in a Van der Kemp’s Kloof bridge crash 11 years ago – has now turned to the Eastern Cape High Court (Port Elizabeth) to force the Road Accident Fund (RAF) to pay for a car. The Herald reports Bonnesse has also been battling to get payment for her carers and alterations to her home.
Bonnesse was 13 when taxi driver Ralton van Rooyen lost control of an overloaded vehicle transporting schoolchildren. Six children died and three others, including Bonnesse, were seriously injured in the crash in September 2007. Van Rooyen was found guilty on six counts of culpable homicide and reckless driving and sentenced to nine years in prison. He was released in 2012 after serving three years.
In February 2014, the late Judge Bonisile Sandi ordered the RAF to pay R8.9m to Bonnesse for loss of income and general damages. He also directed the RAF to provide undertakings that it would pay separately for her full-time carers, wheelchair, motor vehicle expenses, and electronic equipment as these expenses arose.
For the past three years the lawyer appointed to handle her affairs, Morne Struwig, has been fighting with the RAF to pay these costs.
This week – as the case was about to go to court – the RAF offered to pay for Bonnesse’s carers, her wheelchair and medical essentials, but not for the vehicle, says the report in The Herald. Advocate Neil Paterson, for the RAF, argued that his client did not believe Bonnesse to be ‘entitled’ to have her vehicle paid for.
He said the RAF had only agreed to pay for transport-related expenses. ‘Perhaps it is high time that we get a court judgment about the entitlement of plaintiffs to have the RAF buy vehicles for them,’ he said.
Acting Judge Lee-Anne AhShene reserved judgment.
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