An accident victim from Stellenbosch is still waiting for the Road Accident Fund (RAF) to pay out his claim – more than eight months after his case was finalised in court.
Zimisele Makaula was informed that the RAF had lost his file and his attorneys, de Broglio Inc, have gone to the effort of resubmitting all the relevant documents to the Fund. Yet still he awaits the money that is due to him.
As at the end of October, this 29-year-old Stellenbosch Municipality employee had been waiting more than 250 days for his R30 000 settlement to be paid out – several months longer than it should take for an RAF payout to be processed.
According to Michael de Broglio, the law states that the RAF has a maximum of 14 days in which to pay an accident claim once it has been finalised. Once this period has elapsed, the client’s attorneys have the right to issue warrants against the Fund for non-payment. He revealed that at his firm alone, there were currently 62 cases where the RAF had not met its deadline and where payments were weeks, if not months, overdue.
Makaula sustained whiplash in an accident on 7 July 2007 in Old Paarl Road in Brackenfell, when his stationery vehicle was struck from behind by another car. In February this year, de Broglio Attorneys obtained a R30 000 settlement from the RAF to cover his medical expenses. But to date, despite a court order that the amount had to be paid to his attorneys by 27 March 2009, he is still waiting for his money from the Fund.
He is frustrated that he has had to wait so long to receive his payout, and says he has run up cellphone costs and has wasted time on repeatedly following up on the matter.
The RAF reportedly lost his case file, and staff at de Broglio had to pull out all the stops in resubmitting all the settlement documents, as well as the medico-legal reports, the lodgement pack and other paperwork, through to the claims handler at the Fund. This was done in July, and several follow-up letters and requests for payment have subsequently been issued by de Broglio staff – to no avail.
“The RAF never comes back to me or phones me back – I always have to follow up,” Makaula complains. “They always have the same story. I am very fed-up with this state of affairs. After all these delays, I really think they should pay interest on the amount owing to me.”
Makaula’s claims handler at the RAF declined to comment, and repeated requests for clarity from the Fund’s marketing department fell on deaf ears. “That is not unusual,” commented De Broglio. “We typically get no response from them.”