Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus

Dismissal of the Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS) Bill is a victory over ANC irrationality

The FF Plus is overjoyed that the Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS) Bill, which was supposed to replace the Road Accident Fund (RAF), has finally been dismissed.

The RABS Bill had proposed a shocking compensation regime that would have seriously violated the rights of car accident claimants. Over the course of a number of years, the FF Plus cooperated with a body in the industry and other opposition parties to put an end to the Bill. It is, therefore, encouraging that rationality finally triumphed.

Now the immense task of ridding the existing RAF system of corruption, fraud and ineffective functioning – which lie at the root of the system's problems – lies ahead.

The FF Plus had many concerns about the RABS Bill, but one of the more serious issues was that claimants' rights and benefits would have been severely restricted as they would not have been allowed to seek legal counsel to help settle claims.

In fact, at some stage the idea was put forward that the Fund itself must process the claims, determine the merit and pay-out of each claim and manage the implementation of the settlement, which would have undermined all sense of fairness, transparency and justice.

In addition, the notion was proposed that the government should manage the rehabilitation process on behalf of the claimants. However, given the government's inability to ensure proper service delivery and its mismanagement of nearly every government department, particularly with regard to public medical services, claimants would surely have received inadequate medical treatment and rehabilitation.

Furthermore, unreasonable cut-offs were proposed which meant that all benefits would be suspended when the claim is 15 years old, regardless of whether the claimants had been fully rehabilitated or not.

Adv Anton Alberts, chairperson of the FF Plus and former MP responsible for Transport, has for a long time joined hands with other opposition parties to form a united front to oppose the RABS Bill in Parliament at all costs. He also spent a lot of time with a body in the industry to devise a strategy in this regard.

When the new parliamentary term commenced with the 2019 elections, the newly elected FF Plus MP for Transport, Piet Mey, continued the work and as a result, the Portfolio Committee on Transport yesterday finally decided to dismiss the RABS Bill in its entirety.

This saga once again illustrates that the ANC is trying to impose irrational and flawed legislation on South Africans, however, it also has a positive aspect as it demonstrates that civil bodies and opposition parties with diverse ideological approaches can indeed cooperate for the benefit of all South Africans.

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