Durban – THE Road Accident Fund (RAF) will need to verify the legal basis of the estimated R10 million payment demanded by the KwaZulu-Natal Private Ambulances Association (KZNPAA).
RAF spokesperson William Maphutha said they would be looking extensively at the grievances and would then respond accordingly. “We have to consult thoroughly, however, we duly acknowledge the memorandum and it must be noted that the memorandum was addressed not only to the RAF, but also to other government departments such as the Department of Health and the
Department of Transport, so it is critical that we engage with these departments as key stakeholders,” he said.
Maphutha said some of the matters raised would require them to determine whether or not there were contractual agreements, but they welcomed the opportunity to engage with all the parties involved to find a solution.
He said additional details would be communicated once the relevant information had been gathered. In a memorandum handed to the RAF on Friday, KZNPAA chairperson Andile Nduli said the non-payment of claims was economic sabotage by the RAF, saying they would suspend their services if their demands were not met.
“Should you fail to meet our demands and deal decisively with this economic sabotage, we shall have no option but to return here on a more radical programme.
“Also, we shall withdraw our ambulances without any further notice. “Our right to approach the courts to enforce our rights is duly reserved,” he said. Nduli said they last received payment from RAF in February and there had been no formal communication with the fund on the reasons for their failure to service the debt.
He said members of the association were serious business operators and provided employment to 450 people. Private ambulances receive no financial assistance from the government, and their operations were primarily funded through claims from the RAF.
“Lack of payment from March 2020 has caused extreme harm and suffering to our businesses. Yet we still provide the service, for we understand that the victims are not responsible for this negligence. “Many lives would have been lost unnecessarily. However ‘free service’ can’t continue forever,” Nduli said.