Legal Articles and Guides
The Road Accident Fund (RAF) has urged accident victims to claim directly from it, rather than turning to lawyers for assistance, says a report in The Mercury. The RAF’s Phumelela Dhlomo said the advantages of claiming directly far outweighed the disadvantages, as claims were processed a lot faster.
In what Norton Rose Fulbright’s Patrick Bracher and Sandra Sithole call a landmark judgment, the Constitutional Court has ‘left the door open’ for the development of the common law to have future damages in personal injury claims paid periodically and by way of services.
A KZN High Court (Durban) judge has found the eThekwini municipality liable for damages suffered by a Port Shepstone woman, who says two metro policemen viciously assaulted her and called her a ‘kaffir’, notes a report in The Mercury. A criminal charge levelled against one of the policemen was subsequently withdrawn due to insufficient evidence. But the woman brought civil action against the municipality and Judge Jacqui Henriques found she had proved her case on a balance of probabilities.
The Road Accident Fund is being targeted by fraudsters who are said to be colluding with corrupt police officers and the organisation’s employees in order to get their hands on payouts, says a Cape Times report. It adds dishonest touts, doctors and lawyers go as far as fabricating claimants’ payslips and medical records or create fictitious dependants and customary marriages for the claimants in order to inflate cash payouts.
The National Credit Regulator (NCR) has directed BMW to refund its customers for charging them an on-the-road fee on credit agreements, says a TimesLIVE report. The regulator said it was not aware what the fee was for as BMW did not explain when it inquired. The charges ranged from R3 000 to R6 000.
Motorist Geoffrey Merrick was handed down a three-year prison sentence for killing a cyclist in a hit-and-run in 2013 in what has been described as a landmark ruling, says a report on the IoL site. The Kuilsriver Magistrate’s Court also suspended Merrick’s driver’s licence for six months. In May 2013, Merrick crashed into Dr Koos Roux, who was cycling with his son. Merrick fled the scene. Police arrested him 10 days later when debris found on the scene matched his car.
The twenty-year sentence for three counts of culpable homicide, reckless driving and driving under the influence handed down by Magistrate Anand Maharaj to Kriesen Moodley in the Durban Regional Court this week has been welcomed by Justice Project South Africa (JPSA).
The National Funeral Practitioners Association of SA‚ comprising about 300 members‚ said that parlours have had to shut their doors since the RAF introduced a panel of preferred undertakers to conduct the funerals of accident victims. According to a TimesLIVE report association secretary-general Nkosentsha Shezi said: ‘When a family has claimed from RAF for the funeral of a relative that has died in an accident‚ the fund gives the family two choices – you either take the funeral parlour that we are going to give you or you conduct the funeral using a parlour of your choice but we are not going to pay for your claim.’
Sending out a stern message to drunk drivers, a Durban Regional Court magistrate has given a young man who caused an accident in which three people died a 20-year prison sentence. According to a News24 report Magistrate Anand Maharaj, passing sentence on Kriesen Moodley (24), said: ‘We need sentences that can have the effect of changing the mind-set of such drivers who become lethal weapons.’
A Cape Town car dealership has been ordered to refund a woman who bought a second-hand car in late 2015, only to have it break down a few days later. The National Consumer Tribunal found that Hanlie van Lill, of Kuilsriver, must be paid back the R61 450 she paid for her 2001 year model Volkswagen Passat, which broke down four days after she bought it, notes a Fin24 report.
A Wesselsbron woman must keep her opinions on Toyota SA to herself, Judge Corné van Zyl has ruled, issuing a prohibiting order in the Free State High Court. According to a News24 report, Elmarie Wepener (53) may not publish defamatory comments, threaten or harass Toyota employees or interfere with Toyota's operations, said Van Zyl.
A young boy who suffered a head injury after being knocked down by a car in November 2006 has been let down by the law after his attorney first accepted a paltry Road Accident Fund settlement and then apparently stole the money. A News24 report says while the fund considers the matter closed, new lawyers are now attempting to make good and reopen the case to secure a better payout for the child.
Forensic investigators at the RAF handed over 707 cases to the police after discovering fraud caused either by staff or illegal claims made by the SA public in the 2016/17 financial year. A Daily Dispatch report says in the last three months in the Eastern Cape, seven cases have been referred to police from 153 complaints received by the RAF, 109 of which have already been finalised and closed during the period to the value of more than R147m.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation has welcomed a sentence handed down to a motorist guilty of reckless‚ negligent and inconsiderate driving, says a TimesLIVE report. The Cullinan Magistrate’s Court sentenced Olayori Abdul Bakare to a fine of R10 000 or two years imprisonment. His driver's licence was suspended for five years.
Uber SA has called for an urgent ministerial meeting to address the on-going war between its partner drivers and the traditional metered taxi industry, especially in Gauteng. A Cape Times report says this comes after an Uber driver-partner, Lindelani Mashau, died on Monday after suffering serious burn wounds. Mashau was in his car when it was set alight – allegedly by metered taxi drivers – outside Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria over a month ago.