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ConCourt confirms RAF Act finding

2011-02-17 16:36

Bloemfontein - The Constitutional Court on Thursday confirmed an order of constitutional invalidity from the Western Cape High Court, which will affect unfinished road accident claims from before August 2008.

The High Court declared invalid parts of section 18 of the Road Accident Fund Act, as it read before it was amended on August 1 2008.

Three women Anele Mvumvu, Louise Pedro and Bianca Smith, who were victims of separate motor vehicle accidents before August 2008, lodged claims for compensation with the Road Accident Fund (RAF).

When told that their compensation would be capped at R25 000 in terms of section 18 of the Act, they challenged its constitutionality, claiming it infringed their right to equality.

While the matter was pending before the High Court, Parliament amended section 18 and removed the cap.

Constitutional requirements

The amendment came into force on August 1 2008, but did not apply to claims before that date.

Upholding the women's application, the High Court in Cape Town declared invalid section 18 in its original form.

The declaration was submitted to the Constitutional Court for confirmation, as required by the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court also held that section 18, in its original form, was inconsistent with the Constitution.

However, the court suspended the invalidity order for 18 months to enable Parliament to decide the extent of compensation to which the women, and others in their position whose claims had not yet been finalised, should be entitled.