The already struggling Road Accident Fund (RAF) has been accused of fraud, according to reports in the Times newspaper. The RAF allegedly used its own lawyers to sue itself in a bid to buy time to pay out its claims. There is proof of at least two cases where the RAF instructed law firms from their own panel of contracted attorneys to issue summons against the fund on behalf of claimants.
Road Accident Fund Board Chairperson Dr. Ntuthuko Bhengu told 702/CapeTalk presenter Redi Tlhabi that there are no charges laid against the RAF that he is aware of. He further said that he is aware that the Democratic Alliance tried to lay charges but they were turned down by the SAPS because of insufficient information to corroborate the allegations.
There are three reasons that we have taken position on. Number one, we acknowledge that the Road Accident Fund is not perfect but by all manner of measures you can see that in the past few years the fund is in much better place and this is acknowledged widely. Number two, the party that is complaining is non other that the official opposition of the republic of South Africa and much valued stakeholder of the Road Accident Fund – the Democratic Alliance. Number three, is the method in which the DA sought to raise this concerns which I regard as being in bad faith and at worst I think is dishonest.
According to Dr. Bhengu, the RAF handles a high volume of transactions and to pick two claims and infer as a widespread practice is unfair and dishonest. He further said that there are policies in place and there are consequences in case those policies are transgressed. If it happens that the allegations are true and substantial, and that evidence is provided, the RAF promises the taxpayers that the matter and those involved will be dealt with.
The journalist who wrote the article, Bianca Capazorio, says she gave the Road Accident Fund a chance to respond on the allegations but they refused saying the matter is sub judice. She also mentioned that she has in her possession copies of summons and letters from two attorneys acknowledging that they have been instructed by the RAF and not the plaintiffs.
The DA confirmed later in the conversation that the charges were laid and promises to dig some more to root out corruption.
Listen to the RAF’s Dr. Bhengu respond to fraud allegations: