n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - The law of third-party compensation, H.B. Klopper : book review

Volume 2013, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0257-7747
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2207



"Man never legislates, but destinies and accidents, happening in all sorts of ways, legislate in all sorts of ways" - Plato IV (http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/p/plato 400530.html (20-05-2013)).

The above quotation is understood to mean that man is not in control of his own destiny, but its inclusion here is merely to introduce the co-incidence of the words "accident" and "legislation", which in South Africa equates to the Road Accident Fund Act 56 of 1996 and more recently the Road Accident Fund Amendment Act 19 of 2005 (the new act). In terms of the latter legislation the Road Accident Fund ("the Fund") has indeed aimed to control its own destiny by curbing the drain on its coffers and placing itself on the road to recovery. Transformative, far-reaching changes introduced to this end include the capping of loss of income and dependence claims and the limitation of the Fund's liability for non-pecuniary loss to instances where a "serious injury" has been proven. Section 17(1) of the Road Accident Fund Amendment Act 2005 includes a proviso that the obligation of the Fund for non-pecuniary loss shall be limited to compensation for a serious injury, and section 17(1A) provides that assessment of a serious injury shall be based on a prescribed method after consultation with medical service providers. A further significant amendment is the abolition of the road accident victim's common law right to claim from the wrongdoer for damages not compensated by the Road Accident Fund. The Law Society of South Africa challenged the constitutional validity of a number of provisions of the new act and regulations and the dismissal of this action by the North Gauteng high court, Pretoria, has become part of our legal heritage ( 2010 11 BCLR 1140 (GNP)). The foundations of third-party legislation have yet to settle from these ramifications and the timing of Klopper's latest edition of in the midst of this tumult is therefore apposite.

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