Mautla and Others v Road Accident Fund and Others
In this matter, the application stemmed from the Road Accident Fund (RAF) having adopted and implementing:
• a Management Directive for compulsory information to be submitted when lodging a claim dated 08th March 2021;
• a Supplier Claims External Communication dated 19 May 2021;
• Board Notice 58 of 2021 which stipulated terms and conditions upon which claims were to be administered;
• the substitution of the RAF 1 Claim Form.
The Applicant’s were accordingly seeking for the review and retrospective setting aside of these decisions by the RAF.
One of the first questions the court asked in casu was whether any of the decisions made by the RAF were in fact administrative actions, eligible for review and setting aside in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000 (PAJA). The debate fell around whether the RAF’s decisions constituted administrative action (reviewable) or policy formulation (not reviewable). Ultimately the full bench of the Pretoria High Court found that the RAF’s decisions are administrative action and in evaluating whether or not the decisions were rationally connected to their objective of enabling efficient and effective administration of claims, it was found that only substantial compliance of Section 24 of the Road Accident Fund Act 56 of 1996, as amended (RAF Act) is required.
The court touched on the fact that the right to claim compensation is one enjoyed by all persons within the Republic therefore public engagement is required where the rights of affected persons are adversely and materially affected, which did not happen in this instance.
It was argued by the Applicant’s that Section 26 of the RAF Act only empowers the Minister to make regulations, and not the RAF as a whole, through the implementation of management directives or board notices. It was argued by the RAF that Regulation 7(1) of the RAF Regulations empowered them to amend or substitute the RAF 1 Form as it was a regulation made by the Minister which accordingly constituted a sub – delegation of the Minister’s power. The court on this point however took the view that an authority or power delegated cannot be further delegated unless expressly permitted in the enabling legislation, which would be the RAF Act in this matter. Even if sub – delegation was permissible (which the court held it was not in this matter), the court held that the exercise of such sub – delegated power would require that it be in line not only with the Constitution but also with the provisions of the enabling Act.
The court held that through implementing its decisions and through substituting the RAF 1 Form, the RAF has imposed conditions for the submission of what it regards as a valid claim and has unilaterally appropriated the right to decide whether or not the provisions of Section 24(1)(b) of the act are to apply.
The court held that the date of delivery of a claim is essential as it determines whether or not the claim has been timeously submitted and there is no provision in the RAF Act which permits the RAF to refuse to accept the delivery or acknowledge receipt of a claim.
The full bench ultimately concluded that the RAF exceeded its powers in issuing and applying the Board Notice in a peremptory way without any statutory authorisation, this decision resulted in victims of motor vehicle accidents being excluded from compensation and did not facilitate the efficient administration of claims but rather created administrative hurdles to stop claims being submitted. These decisions by the RAF were said to have been taken unilaterally in a situation where the RAF was not empowered to make such decisions.
It was held the decisions made by the RAF and the substitution of the RAF 1 Claim form were unlawful and must accordingly be set aside. The court ordered that:
• Regulation 7(1) of the RAF Regulations be declared unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid and be set aside;
• The decisions and actions by the RAF to be reviewed and set aside;
• Any objection or rejection by the RAF of a claim for compensation submitted between 08 March – 15 June 2021 be declared null and void;
• Any claims rejected by the RAF between 08 March to 15 June 2021 for non – compliance with the management directive, board notice and substitution notice of the RAF 1 Form are afforded a period of 6 months to resubmit those claims.
The RAF was ordered to pay the costs of each Applicant on an attorney and client scale, inclusive of costs for the employment of counsel.
Full citation: Mautla and Others v Road Accident Fund and Others (29459/2021)  ZAGPPHC 1843 (6 November 2023)
Full case available at: https://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAGPPHC/2023/1843.html
Road Accident Fund v Sheriff of the High Court for the district of Centurion East and others
The Road Accident Fund (RAF) in this matter had been issued with writs of execution for non – payment of 62 judgments and it has in response launched an urgent stay of the execution of these writs on the basis that there is a pending application to the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the setting aside of a directive issued by the Fund, refusing to pay medical expenses to plaintiff’s whose expenses have been covered by their medical aid schemes.
The RAF’s argument was that the plaintiff’s have experienced advantageous consequences and have not suffered a patrimonial loss if such expenses are paid by medical aid schemes. It is however set in our law that the law prevents the wrongdoer from benefitting from the plaintiff’s own prudence in insuring themselves from an unforeseen circumstance, and the RAF has been statutorily placed in the shoes of the wrongdoer.
It is also standing law that the participation of a plaintiff in a medical aid scheme is irrelevant to the obligations of the RAF, as the law stands the RAF is obliged to compensate the plaintiff’s for past medical expenses incurred as a result of a motor vehicle accident even where they have been paid by a medical aid scheme.
In reaching the decision that the RAF has not satisfied the requirements of an interim interdict, the reasoning of Davis J is set out as follows:
1. There is no ongoing dispute between the RAF and any of the plaintiffs, and no recission applications have been brought by the RAF;
2. The RAF is refusing to comply with validly obtained and existing court orders, which is prohibited by Section 165(5) of the Constitution;
3. The orders were all granted in terms of Rule 34A;
4. The RAF’s apprehension to comply with the court orders on the basis that it may be successful in the Constitutional Court bid is illusory as the medical aid schemes would be in a position to repay whatever monies have been paid to them and alternatively, the RAF would be able to off – set such prospective payments against the balances of the plaintiff’s claims;
5. The RAF had already been in contempt by their conscious decision to default on making payment on the court orders, prior to the directive they issued.
The appeal was accordingly dismissed and the claim for a stay of execution of the writs was refused.
Full citation: Road Accident Fund v Sheriff of the High Court For the District of Centurion East and Others (083710/2023)  ZAGPPHC 1122 (11 October 2023)
Full case available at: https://lawlibrary.org.za/akn/zagp/judgment/zagpphc/2023/1122/eng@2023-10-11
Van Heerden v Road Accident Fund
The plaintiff instituted a claim on behalf of her son who was a minor and had
sustained serious injuries due to a motor vehicle collision. The dispute in question revolved around the determination of quantum of damages viz. the minor’s claim in terms of earnings / earning capacity.
Evidence was led by an Industrial Psychologist (Mr Moodie) who stipulated that
during consultation with the Plaintiff, he expressed a wish that before the accident he had the desire to become an artisan similar to that of his late father.
Mr Moodie further testified that the plaintiff would in all probability have completed Grade 12 at his former technical high school and would have further completed a Grade 12 education on par with that of an N3 qualification.
The court was satisfied that the Plaintiff had discharged his onus by presenting reliable evidence of an expert nature in proving his loss of earnings/ earning capacity. The court ordered that the Defendant pay the Plaintiff a sum of R 6 485 875,00
The Full case can be read here:
Gabuza v Road Accident Fund
The accident happened on 22 March 2012 however the claim was lodged with the Road accident fund (RAF) on 23 March 2015.It was on this basis that the RAF raised a special plea – stipulating that the final date for lodgement was 21 March 2015 and as a result the claim had prescribed.
The court had to deal with the following issue: whether the claim in question had in fact prescribed. In terms of the RAF Act, a claim would prescribe if it is not lodged within 3 years from the day on which the claim arouse. Lodgement may be instituted via registered post or hand delivery.
In this matter, 21 March 2015 fell on a Saturday therefore lodgment via post was possible on the same day before the post office closed.
In terms of case law involving a 5 year period for prescription, it was held that in cases where the 5 years had concluded on a day on which the court was closed thus preventing the issuing and serving of summons, the 5-year period ought to conclude on the next working day.
The court held that the same principle should be adopted in this case as it would be in line with the object and purport of the Bill of Rights, as a result the final date for lodgement was in fact 23 March 2015, this being the day the claim was lodged and had therefore not prescribed.
The full case can be found here:
Jacobs v Road Accident Fund
The deceased was a married man who was involved in a motor vehicle collision and thereafter succumbed to his injuries.
The deceased was in a relationship with the claimant for several years and had proposed to the claimant, a date to solemnize their union was decided upon by the deceased and the claimant, however this was subject to the finalization of the deceased’s divorce from his wife.
While the deceased was married he had moved into the claimant’s home and lived with her and her minor children.
The claimant together with her children received continued financial support which was provided by the deceased, the claimant was unemployed and entirely dependant on the deceased throughout their relationship.
In deciding upon the matter, the court took into consideration the duo’s plans to marry together with the fact that the claimant and her minor children were voluntarily supported by the deceased throughout his existence. The court further made reference to the equality clause in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, viz. discrimination on account of marital status is expressly prohibited. The court therefore upheld that the claimant was eligible for a claim of loss of support.
The full case can be read here : http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAGPPHC/2018/830.html