Zimbabwean told Road Accident Fund doesn’t help foreigners

But the Fund says its employees are meant to treat everyone equally

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Photo of a man with missing front teeth
Innocent Ticharwa was knocked down in a hit and run accident. He sustained serious injuries and lost his front teeth. Photo: Joseph Chirume

In November 2015, Zimbabwean born Innocent Ticharwa was knocked down by a vehicle in a hit and run incident in Addo township. Since then, he has been struggling to get compensation from the Port Elizabeth Road Accident Fund (RAF) office.

“I was crossing the road to where I was going to sell my brooms and mops. I just heard a heavy sound, then I passed out,” he says. “A passerby phoned the police, who in turn called the ambulance. I spent three days in Kirkwood hospital before being transferred to Uitenhage hospital where the doctors took an X-ray of my body.”

“I was eventually transferred to Addo hospital where four teeth were removed from my mouth … The doctors wanted to take all six affected teeth, but I begged them to leave the two that were not serious.”

“I sustained heavy back and chest injuries. My body is very pained these days … I can no longer work for my family.”

Ticharwa is 29 and a father of three. He was hawking blankets, mops, feather dusters and brooms. “It’s a heavy job,” he says, “I cannot do anything anymore.”

Ticharwa went two weeks ago to the RAF offices in Govan Mbeki Avenue, Port Elizabeth. He claims that the woman who attended to him told him in a rude manner that they don’t help foreigners. He also claims that she told him that the Govani Mbeki branch was not a place to enrich desperate foreigners. She then ordered him to sort his papers with Home Affairs, not with the RAF.

A return ticket to Addo costs R120. So far, Ticharwa has done three such trips, including two when he also visited the Human Rights Centre of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

Ticharwa only has a Zimbabwean ID with him. He does not have the money to go to Zimbabwe to obtain a passport.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Human Rights Centre lawyer, Liesle Fourie, said she referred him to lawyers who are specialists in such cases.

Boniswa Matshoba, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist at RAF, said, “The Road Accident Fund treats foreigners (legal and illegal) the same way as locals. We provide compulsory cover for all users of South African roads against injuries sustained or death arising from accidents involving motor vehicles within the borders of South Africa. This cover is in the form of indemnity insurance provided to the person who causes the accident, as well as compensation provided to the victims of motor vehicle accidents and their families.

“Each claim lodged is assessed in terms of the Road Accident Fund Act 1996 and all valid claims are compensated in accordance with the provision of the Act.”

She said, “Mr Ticharwa has been contacted by the RAF and an appointment has been secured for him to meet one of the organisation’s hospital service centre (HSC) representatives. Meanwhile his allegations are being thoroughly investigated.”

TOPICS:  Immigration

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