Zim urged to emulate neighbours

ZIMBABWE is the only country in the Sadc region without a Road Accident Fund to compensate road traffic accident victims, leaving them in dire straits as they can only claim compensation from third party insurance companies.

RICHARD MUPONDE
SENIOR COURT REPORTER

The compensation from third parties does not exceed $5 000 per annum for loss of income as opposed to countries like South Africa and Botswana where one can claim over R169 000 and P4 million per annum respectively.

The claims in Zimbabwe are governed by the Road Traffic Act and are mainly restricted to third party insurance companies which are often not forthcoming when accident victims claim compensation. The government only chips in by declaring accidents national disasters and providing funeral assistance for those killed, but nothing more is offered to the injured unlike in neighbouring countries.

Contacted for comment, Transport and Infrastructure Development ministry permanent secretary Munesu Munodawafa said he would comment later.

“It’s a long story. I am in a meeting. We will discuss later,” Munodawafa said.

Prominent Bulawayo lawyer Vonani Majoko of Majoko and Majoko Legal Practitioners who deal with a number of road accident
claims, yesterday confirmed that Zimbabwe had no fund to compensate victims.

“The country only has a Roads and Road Traffic Fund administered by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration which is solely for maintaining and constructing roads not to pay compensation to victims of road accidents,” he said.

“Victims are only left to claim compensation from insurers of vehicles involved in accidents. The Road Traffic Act makes it compulsory for every vehicle to have third party insurance for the purposes of moving on our country’s roads, but you find that five out of 10 of these vehicles move without them or fake ones.”

He said Zimbabwe should emulate other regional countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia which have a national fund to compensate road accident victims and their dependants.

“I once worked in Botswana where they have what they call Motor Vehicle Accident Fund and victims can claim as much as P4 million for loss of income. The situation is the same in South Africa where they have Road Accident Fund like many other regional countries,” he said.

In South Africa, the maximum claim someone can make for an annual loss of income is R169 078 as stated in the Road Accident Fund’s subsection 17 (4) (c).

This amount was adjusted from an original amount of R160 000 in 2009.

The Road Accident Fund raises funds through a levy on the price of petrol and diesel. It then pays compensation to victims of road accidents, including cover for medical expenses and funds to support families of the deceased.

Every three months, the Road Accident Fund management meets to review this amount.

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