What is the Road Accident Benefit Scheme? 

The RABS is intended to replace the current fault-based system administered by the Road Accident Fund (RAF). Under RABS, accidents will be treated on a NO FAULT basis. Inherently, a no-fault scheme means that all drivers that can prove they have been in a legitimate accident, will be assisted.

It is based on the same model as that of The Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner (WCC) when an employee is injured or falls ill while on duty.

Although this may sound good on face value, what this means is that all road accident victims will be able to receive minimal benefit payments and no one will be excluded from claiming, even if the accident was your fault. Currently, in the event that you caused the accident, you are excluded from claiming from the RAF, but victims that do qualify to claim, receive substantially higher payments as compensation.

RABS DOES NOT allow you to recover your full loss suffered and drastically decreases amounts and benefits payable to you. Also, all payments are within the Administrator’s sold discretion – they have exclusive power to decide on the validity of your case.





What are some of the negative aspects of the RABS?
  • You will no longer retain your civil right to an attorney.
  • Every individual, whether they are responsible for the road accident or the victim thereof, will be entitled to damages. The system operates on a NO FAULT basis.
  • The fund will continue to be financially funded by our fuel levies. Due to the introduction of a NO-FAULT scheme, the numbers of claimants will increase, thereby increasing the administrative overload already burdening the current scheme.
  • The RABS will make payments directly to medical and healthcare service providers. Which medical practioners and care givers you are entitled to use in the event of an injury will no longer be your choice but will be dictated by the RABS.
  • The RABS will take over all existing and future RAF claims as well as the current RAF staff. The current RAF scheme is operated inefficiently, and has a deficit of more than R100 million. Who will be responsible for that debt? You, the fuel levy tax payer.
  • There will no longer be lump sum payment settlements made to individuals who have experienced severe injuries and damages. The RABS will make monthly payments to the beneficiaries with a maximum payout of R44,000 annually. This may sound like a lot of money to someone who earns the basic South African wage, but consider the fact that you may lose a limb and the ability to do your job for a lifetime. R44,000 a year is poor compensation for a lifetime of lost income. Note also, that these payments will cease as soon as the beneficiary returns to any workplace.
What difference can an attorney make?

Attorneys are there to assist individuals in making a valid claim in instances where accidents are particularly serious and where they deserve to be better compensated than they would through the RAF. Attorneys will take care of the onerous and expensive work of getting police and medical reports sorted for people who are through injury or circumstance, unable to do so. They fight for better compensation for their clients and settlements are notoriously much higher and fairer than those made by the Road Accident Fund.

Comparative table of RAF vs RABS claims
Road Accident Fund
Road Accident Benefit Scheme
Provides lump sum payment of money. Provides regular, reviewable defined small payments (rehabilitation may be required)
Fault-based system: victims are excluded from claiming if you caused the accident. No-fault system: all victims can claim, even if you caused the accident.
  1. Actual value of past and future medical costs
  2. Actuarially calculated past and future loss of income or support up to a maximum of R228 430 p.a.
  3. General Damages for pain and suffering for severely injured victims.
  4. Actual funeral expenses in the event of death
  1. Health care benefits payable in accordance with specified tariffs determined by the Minister of Transport.
  2. Income and family support benefits to be determined by the Minister of Transport
  3. Funeral benefits up to a maximum of R10 000 only


Benefits will be capped

The RABS will cap benefits to a maximum of R44,000 a year, paid in monthly instalments.

A tariff limiting the expenditure on medical and associated costs will be introduced. This effectively means you will no longer have the right to choose which doctor or hospital treats you as the medical practitioners and facilities you are entitled to use will be dictated to you by the RABS.

The RABS will not require you to determine which driver is at fault. Each driver will be compensated equally based on the extent of their injuries.

The RABS will cap benefits to a maximum of R44,000 a year, paid in monthly instalments

Medical expenses and associated costs will be capped.

Funeral expenses will be capped at a maximum payout of R10,000. This is extremely low when you consider that in the 2013/2014 RAF Annual Report, the average funeral claim is R11 245. Funeral expenses have increased by 11% since 2010.

Certain individuals will not qualify at all. If you earn more than R219,820 per annum your ability to claim is severely limited.

Foreigners will be limited to emergency medical care only.

Loss of income in the event of death from a road accident

In South Africa we have a multitude of individuals who currently support family and extended family members. Under the new RABS, should you as a breadwinner be killed in an accident or die shortly thereafter, the support benefits are not transferable and the benefits will cease.

As an individual, you will no longer be entitled to general damages i.e. money for pain and suffering caused.

Currently, you have the right to an attorney who will fight your case on an individual basis. Contrary to what some may have you believe, the current scheme only entitles an individual to such claims in the event that they are absolutely necessary i.e. if you have lost a limb, have suffered brain damage or will be unable to work effectively for years to come. Attorneys take your case to court and fight to receive a lump sum payment that is suitable and adequate to make up for your pain and your suffering. Under the suggested RABS, these rights to claim fall away.

Should you lose your ability to earn an income, the current system allows for a cap for this loss of R230,000 a year. With the assistance of an attorney on your side, this amount is exceeded in those instances where it is deemed appropriate.

Under the new RABS, the loss of income cap will be set at R44,000 a year, payable in monthly instalments. No lump sum payments will be make. If you die in a road accident, there will be no payments made to the people you may have been supporting.

The current RAF scheme is struggling to cope administratively and is hugely burdened with fraud. The new RABS will mean double the case load as well as the administration required to pay all medical doctors/hospitals that are on their books entitled to take care of patients injured in road accidents. These medical professionals will also not be assured of receiving full payment as medical claims will be capped by the RABS.