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Rugby hots up

New Zealand and Australia gone in a day of shocks!  The bookies have revised the betting and now South Africa will feel the pressure of being favourites - 11/10 to win the tournament with France at 2/1 and you can have England or Argentina at 10 to 1.  11/10 is essentially saying we have close to a 50% chance of winning, France have 33% and England or Argentina have about 9% each.  The other two teams are expected to be eliminated today - Scotland are 130 to 1 and Fiji are at 300 to 1.  Going on the betting for today's game the bookies expect us to win by about 34 points over Fiji.  Interestingly enough, on betting for who will referee the final, the favourite is Allain Rowland of Ireland.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Sunday 07-Oct-07   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
The "tornado"

Every 2 months a new story sweeps all over Johannesburg.  By the time they were finished with the petrol running out story and queing for 2 hours, it almost did - except it didn't.  Today its been one call after another asking me to let my staff go early because tornado's and who knows what else was about to hit Johannesburg. 

A friend told me that the traffic was jammed from 4pm as people rushed home.  Its still sunny as I sit in my office and write this at 5:40pm and of course the weather bureau has said they did say it would be bad weather, but nothing excessive.  It seems people still love any chance to take time off and companies closed early to allow their staff to go home to "tie everything down" as my one secretary explained to me.

I decided to help my staff and advised that any of them that still thought they would be in any danger in the traffic, despite all the denials that the story was true, could stay behind and shelter at the offices.  They all left at 5pm as usual - something to remember whenever they come with special appeals for time off....... its clearly only really dangerous or important if you can leave early, not if you need to stay late... or maybe my staff just spot a hoax - with a bit of prodding.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 08-Oct-07   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
No regulations this year

The CEO of the RAF appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Transport today and we are led to believe he said as a result of the court case challenge on the promulgation and then retraction of the incorrent sections of the Act, that the regulations could not be implemented until the Constitutional Court case was heard - which is scheduled for February 2008.  I personally don't follow this logic and will wait to actually hear the audio of the session.  It does appear though that this has nothing to do with their plans for direct payments.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 17-Oct-07   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
News reports on yesterday's meeting
The first report I could find on the Portfolio Committee meeting was on the IOL site which you can read here.  The usual drum of foreigners and massive claims as well as the hint that most smallers claims are fraudulent are amongst the excuses that the legislation must be sped up and it appears that either Modise or Cronin blame the Depoartment of Transport for the delays - its a bit hard to read too much from this report.
Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 18-Oct-07   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Modise blames Contingency Fees Act

Some quick notes on what was saidf this at the Parliamentary proceedings (more to follow) on the road Accident Fund:

Mr Modise said they want direct payments as it is the only way they will know that the money physically goes into the hands of the claimant.  He says it is very convenient for people to blame the RAF for poor management when attorneys already sit with the money in their trust accounts.  He said the direct amount paid for legal fees was R1,6 billion and complained that the Contingency Fees Act allowed attorneys in addition to talking the costs to then take, after the act came through, to also take from the capital portion up to a maximum of 25%.  He said the RAF paid R6,6 billion and they would like to know where the money went and they suspect many attorneys are taking contingency fees .  He said South Africa borrowed the Act from “the Americans” and it had no basis of in Roman-Dutch law.  He said the contingency fees was not related to what the attorney disbursed and in any event a medico-legal may cost as little as R200.  He said Contingency Fees should not apply to third party compensation and that was a fault of the legislature.  He said attorneys claiming they were covering expenses etc was just an excuse to take success fees and it did not justify especially, and he said this was the key, that the RAF Act said the Fund would pay the party and party fees of the claimant. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 18-Oct-07   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
South African's claim for injuries when not really injured...

Further notes and comments on the appearance before the Portfolio Committee of the RAF and its CEO, Mr Modise:

The CEO of the Road Accident Fund appeared before the Portfolio Committee to present the Annual Report of the Road Accident Fund.  The report is available on the JAA site.

The CEO said that although they were increasing how many claims they were settling or “trying to take the water out” but that until the Fund “plugged the hole” the RAF would not be able to cope with the increasing number of vehicles and increasing accidents.  In the last “financial year” of the RAF over 15 000 people died on the roads.

Modise said that one of the problems was that foreign visitors had increased from 1 million to 8,5 million years and we pay foreigners unlimited amounts in foreign currency.  He said almost every week a foreigner was involved in a serious accident.  He said South African’s in general claimed for soft tissue injuries where they were not really injured.  Foreign claims on the other hand were very serious and we are the only country that allows foreigners to get treatment in any country in the world at whatever cost in a foreign currency.  He said we will have a problem at World Cup as close to “40 million people” were expected for the World Cup - the most ludicrous figure ever heard no doubt!

He said all systems throughout the world had limitations, even those based on fault.  He said the RAF had no assets or reserves from which to pay the backlog.  The fuel levy brings in about R7 billion a year less R1 billion in diesel rebates to SARS.  Modise said one of the problems as the industry was not regulated and that there is no model for it or the fuel levy.  He said that the fuel levy could easily go from 36 cents a litre to 66 cents a litre and that to pay the legal costs either the motoring public will pay or they will require a capital injection.  He pointed out that the current levy was a tiny amount relative to the actual fuel price.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 23-Oct-07   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
More notes on the RAF presentation

More notes on the appearance before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee by the CEO of the RAF, Mr Modise, to present their annual report:

The Department of Transport said via Marius Luyt it was dealing with some “curve balls” following the fiasco with the Promulgation.  He said the Department of Transport had finalized the regulations in “June / July” already and the only problem was the common law issue.  He later said they were ready in March but at that stage the Minister of Transport was also acting as Minister of Health and that was a problem.  The legal advisers advised that the Act had not come into operation.  The Dept of Health and Transport had met last week over the regulations and as soon as they gave the OK they would technically be in a position to put in place the regulations.

Another lady spokesperson then explained that in July last year President Mbeki enacted in what Jeremy Cronin called “a blunder” the incorrect Sections of the Act because those sections required regulations before they were proclaimed.  They then issued another proclamation amending that.  Attorney Marius Kruger brought a challenge in this regard which challenged the validity of the first proclamation, saying the president did not have the power to amend a proclamation he had already issued, which has been referred to the Constitutional Court.  The Court held that the first proclamation was null and void and thus the 2nd amendment fell away also.  This now has to be referred to the Constitutional Court and will be heard on 19 February 2008.  If you do not have an Act in operation you cannot publish regulations so they need the Act to come into place first.

Jeremy Cronin asked the Department to find some technical way to make the court process “irrelevant” and that they would get cross party support for any suggestion they could come up with.  The Department of Transport lady, who said she was involved in litigation and not legislation, said the Committee must respect the Constitutional Court and that she could not think of a way around it, unless they revoke or repeal the Amendment Act and then come back with a new Act.  Jeremy Cronin again appealed to them, as soon as next week, to try and find a way around this, without “undermining” the Constitution.

Stuart Farrow suggested surely the Fund’s computer systems would allow them to notify claimant’s as to amounts paid.

Modise said they were changing their systems to make it easier for people to claim from the Fund and they would also change their staff.  A lot of communication with clients could be automated, including the assessments of merits.  He said the law of delict is a system of rules that can easily be automated.  He said that new computer program would allow them to access and communicate with all hospitals and claimants and he emphasized that the RAF “will” pay the claimants directly.  He said attorneys were coming with stories of denying access to justice for poor people etc.   He said the RAF had no idea what happened to the interest earned on the payments to attorneys.  He said they were busy rolling out the IT system and again emphasized there was a lot of resistance from attorneys.

Click this link to hear the entire audio yourself Audio recording of meeting

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 24-Oct-07   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Springboks in Rosebank
My staff and I just joined in the hysteria when the Springboks arrived 1 hour late for lunch at Sasol in Rosebank at 2:15 today!  Damn lucky we never had our eyes poked out with umbrellas or knocked over by stampeding school kids!
Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 26-Oct-07   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Jacob Modise at the JAA AGM
Another blog, another pic.  This time Jacob Modise at tonight's JAA AGM.  I thought his presentation far more friendly to attorneys - but then again, he knew his audience.  As a subject of photographs, he has a wonderful array of facial expressions and looks - which vary incredibly from one picture to another.
Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 31-Oct-07   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments

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