Road Accident Fund CFO Ms Y van Biljon has issued a letter reporting that claimants and their attorneys have become impatient and are now issuing warrants of execution to enforce payment. See my earlier blog on the delay.
I have sent a letter to the RAF putting some context into attorneys and claimant’s position and proposing an alternative solution:
Dear Mr Watson, Ms van Biljon
WRITS, WRITS AND MORE WRITS – A SUGGESTED SOLUTION?
Firstly, congratulations on the wonderful initiative of communication with stakeholders.
Your letter of yesterday expresses frustration at the disruptive effect of the constant issuing of warrants of execution. Unfortunately, I have to admit to not being surprised at the sharp increase of served warrants since your last correspondence, and I’d like to point out why I am not surprised.
Unfortunately, whilst you have kept us apprised of the RAF’s current financial situation, we’re left completely in the dark as regards likely payment periods. In this regard, whilst your earliest correspondence refers to a possibility of 120-day delay in payment, subsequent correspondences are vague. Your “helpline” seems to be overloaded, with handlers simply confirming that payments have been loaded, but with no indication of when payments are likely to occur. Subsequently, we have sent emails to your “paymentqueries” address, but have somewhat distressingly received notification that our emails have been deleted without being read (see attached). You will, no doubt appreciate that co-operation can only exist as long as the public and their attorneys have confidence that the RAF really cares to honour its undertaking to communicate, and ultimately pay (I am sure you will). Being ignored and given vague/no indications of payment periods doesn’t help.
In many instances, seriously injured claimants (who appear to be those waiting the longest for payments) have to make alternative arrangements to meet their monthly obligations. For claimants, the court settlement represents an oasis in the desert of disability, at the moment it is only a mirage. In many instances, claimants are propped up by their attorneys or by family members from whom they borrow funds. We are in the difficult situation of having to explain to claimants that payment has not yet been made, but that there is no indication of when that will occur. Attorneys, who fund the quantification of claims, are drowning, with no safety net, and no assurance or certainty of when client’s claims are going to be paid – for us to remain afloat, we need to be relieved of the financial burden of funding disabled clients, and to recover at least our disbursements as quickly as possible.
In the early 2000s the RAF had a similar cash flow difficulty. In that instance a six-month moratorium was placed on settlements, and subsequent payments were structured to take place over four to six monthly instalments. Claimants had the assurance of receiving some money within a month of settlement, and the attorneys’ future funding of quantification secured.
Might I suggest that we try something similar to forge a way through our collective present difficulties?