Further pain for RAF claimant

2009-11-28 11:11

ROAD accident victim Siphesihle Mthiyane, who is struggling to make

ends meet despite a R1 million payout, may have to wait a while longer before he

can access his cash.


Mthiyane’s only hope lies in the justice system following confirmed

reports that the attorney who ­helped him with his claim was ­convicted of a

criminal offence ­relating to defrauding other accident victims.


Moroke Temba of law firm Temba Sibeko Nkosi was found guilty of

fraud in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court and sentenced to four years in prison.

He is out on R10?000 bail pending an appeal.


An advocate, who is representing the state in the case but did not

want to be named, said Mthiyane should seek recourse in the courts of law.


Hotline has been on the heels of Temba since Mthiyane of

KwaZulu-Natal complained about his ­struggle to get his share from the road

accident fund (RAF) payout.


He was 17-years-old when he was involved in a hit-and-run accident

in 2001 in Nquthu, KwaZulu-Natal.


The driver of the car was ­travelling at high speed and lost

­control of the vehicle, hitting Mthiyane, who was walking on the

pavement.


Mthiyane sustained multiple ­injuries and was admitted to Charles

Johnson Memorial Hospital, where he spent four months.


His parents instructed Temba Sibeko Nkosi to assist with his

accident claim and the RAF finalised the claim in 2007.


Mthiyane’s parents agreed to pay the attorneys 25% of the RAF

payout as legal fees and in January the attorneys advised the parents about the

successful claim and the availability of the funds.

The agreement was between

the parents and the lawyers because Mthiyane was a minor when the accident

occurred.


But the attorneys refused to disclose how much Mthiyane would

receive from the RAF and insisted on increasing the previously agreed rate of

25% of the payout as legal fees.

A bitter wrangle between Mthiyane, who is now

25, and the law firm ensued.


Aware he was fighting a losing battle he contacted Hotline.


Hotline discovered that Moroke Temba was no longer working for the

law firm and that Vusumzi Sibeko had retained the practice.


Sibeko denied any involvement in Mthiyane’s matter and explained

that he no longer worked with Temba.

Hotline further learnt that Nkosana Nkosi

had left the practice a few years ago.


Hotline managed to trace Temba, who at the time said the money was

in a trust account over which he had signing powers.

He alleged that Mthiyane

was responsible for the delay in releasing the funds.


He said he had advised Mthiyane that 40% of the road accident fund

payout should be retained by the firm once the claim was finalised.


But Mthiyane disputed the attorney fees and decided to take the

legal route to resolve the dispute.


Communication became impractical due to pending litigation

initiated by Mthiyane, said Temba.


Temba committed to resolving the dispute and agreed to meet

Mthiyane to discuss the matter further but that did not happen.


He failed to confirm the date of the appointment and to return

Hotline’s messages.

Last month Hotline learnt about his conviction.


Mthiyane believes that people who take advantage of the destitute

have no place in society.


“It is an unfortunate situation and I wish his other victims would

also come forward,” says Mthiyane.


“The man is educated, drives the smartest cars and stays in an

upmarket suburb and yet all this time he has been stealing from the innocent.


“What a waste of skills.”
 

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