Legislators have called for clear laws that protect road traffic accident victims.
Speaking during a Parliamentary question and answer session in Harare, Wednesday, the legislators lamented the gaps within the insurance sector regarding compensation of Road Traffic Accidents.
“We have a petition that was brought before you Hon. Chairperson by a private citizen that seeks to establish what is called compensation for RTA victims or a Road Accident Fund. There is so much in the insurance sector going to third party insurance, passenger insurance and a lot of that. I ask if it pleases the Minister so that it becomes a bit loud in terms of regulating and supervising the compensation of those that are involved in road traffic accidents.
“Hon. Minister ( Professor Mthuli Ncube), you have a Statutory Instrument that you have established, you are taking monies that have not been used for compensation from a pool of insurance monies in particular, leaving out the COMESA insurance, road insurance issues but looking at the domestic finances – so you got to that level and understanding because you had seen a lacuna, a gap in the utilisation of those copious amounts of resources which are only benefiting the insurance industry at the expense of those that are involved in road traffic accidents,” said Zanu PF Chegutu legislator Dexter Nduna
He added “Passenger insurances pay 15 dollars per seat in public transport; what is supposed to go to the bereaved families is USD4 000 and what is supposed to go to an injured person is USD2 000 but because the law is hazy in terms of both enforcement, regulation and supervision, I ask that there be a paragraph that is explicitly clear, crystal clear about compensation of those that are involved in accidents, otherwise you continue to have Statutory Instruments to tap into third party payments and the third party insurance because you have seen that there is no usage of that money. So, you might think it might be too big in order to go to this operation issues but the supervision of that needs somehow to have an iron fist.”
Harare East lawmaker (CCC) Tendai Biti said there is need for adequate compensation of victims since the reparations are pegged in local currency that continues to depreciate.
“We have got an unfair situation imposed by Part 3 of the Road Traffic Act. This imposes limitations for compensation to third party victims in the case of an individual and Hon. Nduna says it is USD2 000, it is actually 2 000 RTGs. So if you are injured or lose life, it is 2 000 RTGs but how can my nose, my hand be 2 000 RTGs. If a bus kills people, let us say B & C kills 75 people, the maximum amount it can pay is USD20 000 but because of Statutory Instrument 33 of 2019, it is actually 20 000 RTGs.
“How can a human life cost 20 000 RTGs? There must be an addition; the object of insuring, number one, should be protection of loss of value of a policy and number two, the issue of adequate compensation to victims given the super profits that these houses are making. So, we make that proposal to the Minister,” said Biti
Zimbabwe has been hit by a spate of bus accidents which have killed scores of people and is the only country in the region without a road accident fund.