Victory for victim in RAF battle

2011-06-27 14:33

A road accident victim who was defrauded of a substantial sum in a Road Accident Fund (RAF) payout will finally be compensated.

It has taken long but Sihle Mdlalose of Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal is relieved that justice has prevailed.

The attorney responsible for the fraud, Moroke Temba, of Temba Sibeko Nkosi Inc, was not only convicted of a criminal offence relating to defrauding other accident victims, he was also removed from the roll of practising attorneys.

This happened last year and until recently Mdlalose had lost hope that he would one day receive what was due to him.
He said: “It is a good thing I allowed Hotline to guide me every step of the way.

“In all honesty, I am grateful to Hotline for all the assistance.”

In 2009 he asked Hotline to intervene when the law firm gave him the runaround following a successful claim.

Mdlalose was only 17 years old in 2001 when he was the victim of a hit-and-run incident in Nquthu, KwaZulu-Natal, which left him with multiple injuries. He spent four months in hospital and his parents instructed Temba Sibeko Nkosi Inc to help with the claim.

The family agreed to pay the attorneys 25% of the payout as legal fees, but when the claim was successfully finalised in 2008 the attorneys increased their rate to 40%. Mdlalose refused to accept the sudden increase in charges.

The attorneys also failed to disclose how much the fund paid out. This marked the beginning of a wrangle.

Mdlalose later found out that the fund had paid out and then lodged a complaint with the Law Society of the Northern Provinces against Temba Sibeko Nkosi Inc.

For three weeks, Hotline battled to find the law firm after they relocated their offices, only to later go their separate ways.

When Hotline finally traced Temba, he made an empty promise to release the funds.

Meanwhile, Hotline’s investigation further showed that Temba had, a few weeks earlier, been convicted of defrauding other accident victims and was out on bail.

Hotline advised Mdlalose to lodge a claim with the Attorneys Fidelity Fund as it became clear that Temba Sibeko Nkosi Inc would be scrapped from the practising roll. The law society records confirmed this.

Stabin Gross & Shull Attorneys agreed to help Mdlalose, but failed to obtain details of costs paid to Temba Sibeko Nkosi Inc “despite several letters and telephone calls to the RAF”, they said.

Mdlalose called Hotline and we referred the matter to the fund. The office has since released the information which will allow Stabin Gross & Shull Attorneys to negotiate a final settlement with the Attorneys Fidelity Fund.

By the time of going to press, there had been confirmation that the funds would soon be released to Mdlalose.

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