The Road Accident Fund (the RAF) paid out a whopping R28bn, according to its annual report for 2015. But just where is all this money coming from?
The RAF is a government organisation that is responsible for providing appropriate cover to all road users within the borders of South Africa; rehabilitating and compensating persons injured as a result of motor vehicles and promoting the safe use of all roads.
The vast majority of RAF’s revenue comes from a levy on petrol prices.
That means that every time you buy a litre of petrol, you give R1.54 cents per litre (for the year 2015-2016) of petrol to the RAF.
This fuel levy works out to about R2 864 each year or around R239 each month for an average driver with a Polo Vivo, according to Carinfo.co.za, a website that offers information about the car industry, including reviews and free online car insurance quotes.
"Just for ‘fun’, let’s go deeper down the rabbit hole: so for 10 years, you’ll be paying, give or take, R28 000, and for 50 years (which is the average period that we’re on the road), you’ll have paid R140 000! And these figures don’t even take into account the damages caused to public property which is ultimately paid from the taxes you pay."
Carinfo.co.za goes on to state that it is possible to do away with the RAF by introducing a compulsory insurance for all car drivers.
"In effect, the Road Accident Fund acts as a sort of public insurance company, or social security, and the introduction of required car insurance could mean that private companies (i.e. the insurers) could pay compensation for injuries rather than you, the tax payer (and petrol buyer) paying for them."
Read the full article on Carinfo.co.za
Meanwhile, the government is mulling over scrapping the RAF with a planned new Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS).
It intends to do away with the current fault-based system so any road accident victim will stand to receive compensation. There would no longer be payments for general damages and lump sum payments. This will be replaced with monthly payments, which would cease when the beneficiary is successfully rehabilitated.
The draft bill is at the National Economic Development and Labour Council ahead of it being referred to the Cabinet for approval to table it in Parliament.