Litigation: Update on Mabunda Inc and Others v RAF case

July 16th, 2020
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By Nomfundo Jele

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) was an amicus in the matter of Mabunda Inc and Others v Road Accident Fund (The Law Society of South Africa and Black Lawyers Association as amicus curiae); Diale Mogashoa Inc v Road Accident Fund (GP) (unreported case no 15876/2020, 18239/2020, 27-3-2020) (David J). Two other applications (FourieFismer Inc and Others v Road Accident Fund and Others; Mabunda Inc and Others v Road Accident Fund; Diale Mogashoa Inc v Road Accident Fund (GP) (unreported case no 17518/2020, 15876/2020, 18239/2020, 1-6-2020) (Hughes J)) for the review and setting aside of the Road Accident Fund’s (RAF’s) instructions to its panel attorneys to hand over their files, along with the cancellation of the tender and the RAF’s decision to dispense with the services of the panel were also brought in the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria. All three matters were heard together, and judgment was delivered on 1 June in favour of the applicants. Hughes J ruled that the status quo should be retained for at least six months as far as the existing panel is concerned. ‘This will enable the RAF to reconsider its position and retain the social responsibility net in place protecting the public’, Hughes J said. The LSSA, inter alia, argued that the decision by the RAF is not in the public interest or in the interest of the administration of justice.

Various r 42 variation applications were subsequently made and the order now contains additional paragraphs setting aside the RAF’s demand to its panel attorneys to hand over their files, as well as the RAF’s decision to cancel the tender.

The RAF’s application for leave to appeal against the judgment and order was dismissed by the Gauteng Division of the High Court on 19 June.

Section 18(3) applications for the execution of the (varied) order of Hughes J were filed in all three matters. The LSSA is asking that the operation and execution of the order not be suspended by any application for leave to appeal. The LSSA believes that, whatever the merits of the dispute between the RAF and its panel attorneys, the attorneys’ profession, the courts, the administration of justice and the rights of road accident victims will be severely affected by the suspension of the court order. This is already seen in some courts, where RAF matters cannot proceed.

Click here to view the court papers.

Nomfundo Jele, Acting Communications Manager, Law Society of South Africa, nomfundom@lssa.org.za