A Road Accident Fund (RAF) board notice, which resulted in victims of motor vehicle collisions being excluded from claiming compensation, has been declared unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid by the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria).

The court also set aside a number of management directives adopted and implemented by the RAF, together with a substituted claims form, reports Moneyweb.

In a judgment handed down on Monday, a full Bench – comprising Judges Ingrid Opperman and Anthony Millar and Acting Judge G Alley – ruled the RAF exceeded its powers in issuing and applying the board notice in a peremptory way without any statutory authorisation.

They said the notice did not facilitate the efficient administration of claims but rather reduced the number of claims by creating administrative hurdles to stop claims from being submitted.

‘It resulted in victims of motor vehicle collisions being excluded from claiming compensation.'

The judges added that the delivery and acknowledgement of receipt of a claim does not impede in any way the discharge of the RAF of its mandate in terms of the RAF Act nor does it impose more liability on the RAF. 

They added that the RAF decisions were taken unilaterally and in circumstances where the RAF was not empowered in terms of the Act to do so. 

The judges ruled that the RAF decisions and substituted RAF1 claims form were neither authorised by the RAF Act nor rationally connected to the achievement of the purpose of the Act.

‘Properly construed, the making of the decisions and their implementation are so unreasonable and so inimical to the purpose and provisions of the Act that the RAF in doing so acted in a manifestly unreasonable and unlawful manner.  'The decisions and substituted RAF1 (claims form) are unlawful and must accordingly be set aside,’ they said. 

The judges declared Regulation 7(1) of the RAF regulations promulgated by the Minister of Transport in terms of the RAF Act to be unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid.

The judges further ordered that claimants whose claims were rejected by the RAF between 8 March 2021 and 15 June 2021 due to non-compliance with the management directive, board notice or substitution notice are given six months from the date of this order to resubmit their claims in accordance with the provisions of the RAF Act.

The RAF has been ordered to inform every person of whom it has a record, and who submitted a claim between 8 March 2021 to 15 June 2021 and whose claim was neither accepted nor acknowledged, of the terms of this order.

The RAF must also inform every person of whom it does not have a record, and who submitted a claim between 8 March 2021 to 15 June 2021 and whose claim was neither accepted nor acknowledged, of the terms of this order by publication of the whole order in a newspaper circulated nationally on a Friday.

The application to review and set aside the RAF decisions was brought by nine applicants, who were all persons who claim an entitlement to submit claims to the RAF, reports Moneyweb.

The RAF was ordered to pay the costs of each of the applicants.

The applicants previously applied for and were granted an interdict against the implementation of the RAF board notice and substitution of the existing RAF claims form on 15 June 2021.

Full Moneyweb report

Judgment

See also full Pretoria News report