Road accident victims now have many reasons to smile as the effort to lodge claims is no longer going to be a costly and time consuming process.
These services are now offered right in their doorsteps, after Transport Minister Dipou Peters launched the first Road Accident Fund Mobile Office in Mandela Park Stadium on Sunday.
The launch was part of the transport department’s Road Safety Summit and World Remembrance Day commemoration for victims of car accidents.
The World Remembrance Day is commemorated globally on the third Sunday of November every year as adopted by the United Nations to remember millions of road users who were injured and killed on roads internationally.
Peters said the launch will see many more mobile offices being distributed across the country in future, to bring services closer to the victims.
“We want to target mostly those who are staying in farms and remote rural areas because they are far from the offices. This is a way of bringing services closer to them. It is also going to benefit everyone across the country. They will access it every day of the week,” Peters said.
It will take between six months to two years to finalise the process and the claimants will be subjected to an investigation to check if they were not on the wrong side of the law when the accident took place.
Should it be revealed that the driver, mostly, was under the influence of alcohol when the accident occurred, for instance, RAF will not pay the victim.
Phumi Dhlomo, Chief Marketing Officer for RAF, said they have done a number of road shows across the country which saw them help thousands of claimants since the beginning of the year.
“People that we meet complained that they do not have access to our services. We believe that this mobile clinic will bridge that (gap)as we are now going to be able to assist them anywhere,” Dhlomo said.
He also said another department, called the Road Accident Benefit Scheme, is underway and will benefit the victims of road crashes.
Crash victim Simphiwe Kavi, 36, did not waste time and used the opportunity to check the status for his claim, on the day.
Kavi damaged his spine and broke an arm after the car in which he was travelling crashed and rolled in Komani, in the Eastern Cape, in April last year.
Kavi said he was “happy” with the mobile clinic.
For Mlindeli Somace, 63, who was knocked down by a car on Vanguard Drive, near Langa, in 1979, it was not to be his luck day, though; his application for compensation was turned down.
“They told me that the accident took place a long time ago; I can no longer claim.”
Bafana Magagula, the Strategic Manager of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), warned commuters not to board taxis that are seemingly full or unroadworthy. “We fully support road safety. The taxi industry is working towards reducing reckless driving on our roads. “I, as a taxi operator, should ensure that I do not skip a red light and that I do not speed.