The Road Accident Benefit Scheme – RABS The Ugly Truth
The Portfolio Committee on Transport (PCOT) met again on 13 November 2018 to debate the finalization of their report on the proposed RABS Bill.
The initial draft report was rejected last week as it contained a 19-page minority report of the DA.
A decision was taken to obtain a legal opinion from the Parliamentary law advisors on whether the DA report may be included in terms of Rule 166(4) of the Rules of the National Assembly.
The meeting was opened by the Chairlady requesting one of the ANC members to read Rule 166(4) out loud and the meeting then turned into an agonizing 60 minute debate among the ANC members (none of which are legally trained) on the issue, finally deciding that a report needs to be prepared which will include the views of the minority in order to facilitate the debate once the Bill progresses to the National Assembly.
No legal opinion was seemingly obtained but one would be excused for venturing an educated guess that the ANC members were informed that they had to allow the view of the minority as they could face serious consequences should they ignore the report and in so doing contravene the Rules of the National Assembly.
The DA raised relevant issues in their report which contains the quintessence of the flaws in the current RABS Bill and exposes the hasty approach by the Department of Transport trying to rush, yet another piece of ill-fated and costly legislation.
The Transport Committee is now faced with the task of addressing the issues raised in the DA report to comply with Rule 288(3) of the National Assembly, which include but are not limited to :
- Possible Constitutional challenges (in the light of the unique benefit model and exclusion of common law rights);
- Submitting an updated actuarial report (the previous calculations not having considered recent changes to the funding model as proposed by Treasury etc.);
- Exclusion of the Poor;
- How a dual system (RAF/RABS) will be funded (without having to substantially increase the current fuel levy);
- The impact of “no fault” on the South African public/road user;
- The absence of an acceptable medical tariff;
- The absence of appropriate Medical and Rehabilitative infrastructure;
- The correct tagging of the Bill
See attached report for further details.