The Road Accident Fund (Transitional Provisions) Act has been signed into law.
President Zuma assented to the bill in December.
The act will come into effect on a date still to be determined by the president.
Parliament passed the bill at the end of November last year.
It gives effect to the constitutional court judgement of Mvumvu vs minister of transport.
The court ruled that limitations in the old act were unconstitutional in that they constituted unfair discrimination.
Certain claimants had their claims limited by section 18 of the old act.
For example, “passengers conveyed in a taxi were limited to claiming a maximum of R25 000 from the Fund, where their driver's negligence was solely responsible for the accident in question”.
The Road Accident Fund Amendment Act of 2005 abolished the provisions that placed limitations on claims. A more generous limit on claims was imposed.
However, the problem that arose was that the amendment act only applied to accidents that happened after it came into effect, namely, 1 August 2008.
Therefore, claimants that had actions occurring prior to the implementation date did not benefit from the new law.
Their claims still had limitations placed upon them.
The constitutional court, therefore, instructed Parliament to address the matter via legislation.
However, the court insisted that the new law should not force all road accident victims to adhere to the provisions of the amendment act.
People whose accidents occurred prior to 2008 will be given a choice as to whether they want to remain subject to the old or new versions of the act.
One condition of the new legislative framework is that victims will no longer be able to sue the owner of a vehicle for damages.
Sabinet Cape Town Office