The decision on whether the Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS) will replace the Road Accident Fund (RAF) in 2019 has been pushed to next year, after the National Assembly put the bill to a vote on Tuesday.
The initial vote on whether a report on the proposal should be debated was successful, where it scored 174 yes votes and 84 no’s, with seven abstentions.
DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said that by excluding the “minority report” delivered by his party in May, which strongly criticised the bill, the house had acted unconstitutionally, and said that the house was ill-advised by the portfolio committee.
But in a stunning turnaround, the IFP, DA, EFF, UDM, COPE, ACDP and FF+ all rejected the bill after it was debated in the house, with the ANC its only proponents.
Steenhuisen said that “irreparable harm” had been done by the matter having appeared in the house without his party being properly consulted, before verbal abuse was hurled between the opposition parties.
EFF members were asked to leave after the deputy speaker, Lechesa Tsenoli, took exception to comments made against him.
While opposition parties, advocacy groups and spokespersons for the legal profession claim that the highly scrutinised bill was merely a mechanism for the ANC to garner voter support ahead of the 2019 elections, their last-gasp motion to slam the brakes on the bill and have it returned to the portfolio committee for transport was rejected by the speaker.