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Discovery Health Accuses Road Accident Fund of Breaching Court Order

In 2022, the High Court ruled that the Road Accident Fund (RAF) could not withhold payments for past medical expenses covered by medical aids. Discovery Health is now alleging that the RAF and its CEO, Collins Letsoalo, are in breach of this court order.

Background

Discovery Health has taken a strong stance, claiming that the RAF issued new directives to circumvent the High Court’s 2022 ruling. This ruling declared that the RAF’s refusal to pay for past medical expenses already covered by medical aids was unlawful. Despite appeals to the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court, the ruling was upheld.

Court Proceedings

Advocate Wim Trengove, representing Discovery, presented their case at a special court hearing. Initially, Discovery sought a contempt of court order but later adjusted their request to a breach of the court order and compliance enforcement.

Trengove argued that the RAF continued to implement its directive despite the court’s decision. He cited about 20 cases aligning with the 2022 ruling by Judge Mandla Mbongwe. Discovery’s objective is to compel the RAF to comply and to have Letsoalo explain why he should not be held in contempt, potentially facing jail time.

RAF’s Defense

The RAF, represented by Advocates Cedric Puckrin and Gerhard Cilliers, denied any wrongdoing. They contended that Discovery was not merely enforcing the Mbongwe ruling but introducing new arguments. The RAF maintained that the directives issued during the appeal process were valid and that individual claimants, not Discovery, should pursue court actions.

Legal Arguments

Trengove emphasized that new directives issued by the RAF were attempts to sidestep the legal implications of the Mbongwe ruling. He detailed two subsequent directives: one rejected in litigation and another based on a misinterpretation of the RAF Act, arguing that medical aid agreements were merely to avoid double compensation.

Judgment Reserved

Judges Dunstan Mlambo, Ingrid Opperman, and Noluntu Bam have reserved judgment. The central issue remains whether the RAF’s new directives constitute a breach of the 2022 court ruling and whether Letsoalo should be held in contempt for non-compliance.

In summary, Discovery Health argues that the RAF must honor the High Court ruling and cease issuing directives to circumvent it, while the RAF defends its actions as lawful during the appeal process. The court’s decision is pending.

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