Zvamaida Murwira Harare Bureau
THE government plans to introduce a Road Accident Fund aimed at assisting victims of road carnage, a cabinet minister has said.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joram Gumbo said third party insurance was one avenue to compensate road accident victims, but had not helped matters as it was exacerbated by the proliferation of fake insurance policies.
Gumbo said this in the National Assembly while giving a ministerial statement on the recent road accident along Harare-Bulawayo Road involving a bus and Mercedes Benz Sprinter that claimed 31 lives and was declared a national disaster.
He said third party insurance was being administered privately by insurance companies hence his Ministry could not comment substantively on the actual amount being collected periodically.
In other countries, said Gumbo, third party insurance was administered by the government, but in Zimbabwe’s case, there had been reliance on insurance companies as agents since the colonial era.
“I’ve already advised Cabinet of my efforts to set up a Road Accident Fund and I’ll submit the paper to that effect to Cabinet in the next four weeks. Allow me, therefore, at this stage to defer discussions on this proposal. I’m consulting relevant stakeholders as I prepare it,” said Gumbo.
He said the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe should, in terms of the law, get 12 percent of every third party insurance policy issued per term for promotion of road safety and not compensation, which he said was the responsibility of insurance companies.
TSCZ collected an average of $224,000 per term or $2,688 million per year.
“Of late the TSCZ has had problems in collecting the 12 percent levy from insurance companies mainly because the industry has been plagued by fake insurance policies, while in some cases insurance companies are not complying with the requirements to remit money.
“Regrettably, the TSCZ has no garnishee powers to get the money from the bank accounts of defaulting insurance companies,” he said.
The government planned to introduce electronic insurance cover notes, a project that would ensure that insurance companies were linked to the database of Zinara and the Central Vehicle Registry. This would ensure that no vehicle would get a vehicle licence without a valid insurance policy.
“The system has already been designed and is expected to be operational in the next three months,” he said.