South Africa: Fundamental Reform of the Road Accident Fund Is Urgently Needed


Despite its regular source of funding, the Road Accident Fund is technically insolvent. Clearly, something is fundamentally wrong with the system and something has to be done. Lump-sum payments must be replaced with a monthly disbursement.

The saying that "a picture is worth 1,000 words" must be tweaked to "a meme is worth 1,000 words". I recently received a meme from an acquaintance that, as a social protection expert, motorist and, most importantly, a taxpayer, got me thinking. It was a picture of a man's hand opening a lid of a potjie on a fire with a R100 note. It is captioned: "Your boyfriend at a family gathering after receiving Road Accident Fund money."

As far-fetched as this may seem, such a phenomenon is plausible. For their benefit, doubting Thomases are kindly invited to watch the television show, I Blew It, which shares heart-wrenching stories about people in South Africa who received a monetary windfall and squandered it. Although there are odd cases of those who received inheritances, particularly death benefits and lottery winnings, the vast majority of the stories are about those who had Road Accident Fund (RAF) compensation.

The stories are invariably told by those who received the...

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