There has been quite a bit of coverage in recent months of the continued financial issues facing the Road Accident Fund. The deficit however seems to have stabilised, when last we heard, at approximately R14 billion and consumers seem to accept and understand that payment is no longer made as and when a case is settled or shortly thereafter.
There is a bit of a misconception though that payment is made on 180 days. That is in terms of a court order which prevents attorneys from issuing writs before the 180 days are up. In our actual experience many payments take longer than 180 days to be paid and part of the struggle for attorneys is to get those matters loaded up, by the RAF staff, in the first place. It requires a lot of calls, e-mails and correspondence back and forth with the Road Accident Fund staff before a matter is actually loaded up and sometimes that alone, although that should not be the case, takes months to achieve. At the end of the day though there is not much that plaintiff attorneys can do – while their clients might be unhappy about how long a payment takes, they have no control over which matters the Road Accident Fund pays, when they pay and how long they take to pay.