South Africans expecting a Road Accident Fund (RAF) payout after receiving an approved court order, can wait up to one year before seeing any money – another excruciating delay after having typically waited between two to five years for the case to come to trial.

Payments are delayed due to inefficiencies and serious financial woes at the RAF, reported to have a massive R17-billion in unpaid claims. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused further trial and pay-out delays with the RAF being largely shut down since lockdown began in March this year.

Beyond the physical, emotional and financial recovery after a car accident, victims with claims against the RAF endure a long and difficult claim process which involves hiring a lawyer and going to court. Those who finally get a court order for the RAF to pay, are usually stunned to find out that they will still have to wait for up to a year to receive their money.

South African start-up RAFPay has stepped in to ensure victims with valid RAF court orders receive up to 95% of the money owed to them. This takes place over two payments: an initial payment of up to 50% of the amount owed is paid within hours of the application. The minimum amount generally paid at this stage starts at R150 000. The balance is settled once the RAF pay-out has been received.

The final payment will depend on the time the RAF takes to settle the court order, with average total pay-outs around R800 000. For victims who have often been unable to work due to injury and who may have high medical bills, this is life changing.

Elad Smadja, CEO at RAFPay, comments: “We get hundreds of calls a month from extremely distressed people who are meant to be paid out by the RAF. They have endured medical stress, may have lost their jobs, are in desperate financial positions and often take loans from mashonisas (loan sharks) at very high interest rates while they wait six to 12 months before finally getting their pay-out.”

RAFPay helps these claimants to not only end the delay of waiting for the money owed to them by the RAF, but also offers transparency in terms of the amount payable after their attorneys’ fees have been paid. The RAFPay pay-out is not a loan and so there is no interest payable. Instead, the court order is converted into an upfront cash payment.

“The attorney fees and RAFPay’s fee are only paid once the final RAF pay-out is received. The whole process can take hours. The immediate cash relief allows clients to bring finality to the long trauma of their vehicle accidents so that they can finally move on with their lives,” Smadja says.