Business Maverick

AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY

Trio jailed for 537 fraudulent Road Accident Fund claims

Trio jailed for 537 fraudulent Road Accident Fund claims
(Photo: Unsplash | Road Accident Fund logo)

The fraudulent scheme included a raft of offences ranging from recruiting individuals to lie about getting injured during a car crash to using stolen number plates.

A family trio consisting of a mother, daughter and the daughter’s husband were sentenced to jail last week for fraudulently attempting to claim R31-million from the Road Accident Fund (RAF).

The three submitted 537 fraudulent claims from 40 road accidents. 

Last Thursday, the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court sentenced Tanya Senekal and Jaco Senekal to eight years’ imprisonment each, of which two years were suspended for five years on condition they were not convicted of fraud committed during the period of suspension.

They were each found guilty on 403 charges.

Magdil Groenewald was sentenced to a five-year jail term and may be placed under correctional supervision at the discretion of the Commissioner of Correctional Services or a parole board. She was found guilty of 134 counts of fraud.

The trio’s fraudulent scheme included recruiting individuals to lie about being injured during a car crash, using number plates of old cars that were no longer roadworthy, claiming injury benefits for road accidents that had no victims, and using stolen number plates of stationary cars more than once.

RAF chief executive officer, Collins Letsoalo, says fraudulent claims have dire financial and resource implications for the RAF in that employees who handle claims must also sift through fraudulent claims.

“This exercise extends the amount of time it takes to settle valid claims. For this reason, we believe that sentencing related to stealing from claimants and road users are given maximum sentences and are without suspensions.” 

In the past three financial years, the RAF has successfully stopped fraudulent claims involving almost R2.7-billion. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    Once again, junior people who got caught. Who is looking at the leadership? Nobody.

    • Palesa Tyobeka says:

      Are you suggesting they should not have been punished? What makes them “little people”? They are criminals. Period

      • Iam Fedup says:

        Oh no, Palesa, throw the book at them. What I’m suggesting is that higher ups are guilty of one of only two possibilities. Either they are also involved in the thievery and corruption, or they are not in control of what’s happening in the organisation, and therefore guilty by omission, and thus should be fired. How long do you think an employee of Old Mutual, Santam, or Liberty Life would be able to get away with it? Quite simply, there are no controls, which, as a customer who is forced to pay a premium every month through the petrol price, I cannot just walk away.

    • Bob Dubery says:

      This presumes that there is somebody higher up the chain. It’s not always so. Look at the repeated discoveries at Eskom. There is not one co-ordinated assault on Eskom, but lots of individual operations whose cumulative impact is significant. These guys are going to jail for 8 years, and the prosecution had an evidence trail that led to them but no further. It’s likely that the guys at the top of this particular operation have been found.

      • Iam Fedup says:

        Bob, please look at my comment above in response to Palesa. I’m also not at all confident in the National Prosecuting Authority’s ability to actually see this thing through. There is no desire to fix it, as countless other cases reported in this journal have proven.

  • Gail Meyer says:

    Well Done❗️As civil society we often say things like, about time, to little too late, what about the rest. But I am starting to realise that this elephant is eaten a little at a time. We can’t give up, any progress, any conviction is that “little at a time”. We need to rid the rot, there is more good than not.

  • Chris Watson says:

    So what happened to the money.

  • David A says:

    Shockingly lenient sentences, considering the scale and extent of the fraudulent scheme.

  • virginia crawford says:

    3 questions: Why was this only discovered after hundreds of claims? Where is the money now? Why suspended sentences- people get 10 years for cable theft? And no one else was involved, really?

  • Rae Earl says:

    These crooks cause untold harm in depleting the RAF with possible shortages affecting serious claims of disability and loss of mental ability in the case of head injuries. Jail terms should be 20 years minimum to keep fraudsters at bay.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Jailing the small fry seems to be easier than the big fish! Where are the Guptas? And why is Jooste not in jail? ( Big) Crime pays in SA obviously!

  • Jill Wandrag says:

    These sentences are far too lenient. They don’t report the amount involved in these deliberate, intricate, well-orchestrated acts of fraud. I daresay another reason claims take so long is that (at least some of) the staff are always busy devising their next scoop. And where are the senior staff who check and authorise the claims for payment?
    And where is the cash? Earning interest somewhere while these scumbags languish in jail. They might have scored enough to retire when they are released after serving half of the sentence,
    Crying shame!

  • Donald bemax says:

    Well done to the court. Please can you catch the rest of these theives.

  • ninandi says:

    Eish this ANC government is making people to steal or teaching them to be crooks. It is the ANC government’s fault🙈🤣

    • Nnete Fela says:

      But of course ninandi, all the evils in this country are the ANC’s fault, Suid Afrika never knew such darkness, kyk hier it’s even turned the Groenewald’s and Senekal’s into evil doers

  • Marilyn Tromp says:

    A new law should be promulgated : those who are found guilty of stealing must pay back the money – ALL of it. Jail time and pay back. Two deterrents may help stem the rot, lies, thieves and more that seem to be popping up all over.

  • Allen Masomere says:

    The entire country is a crime scene

  • Victor Mathonsi says:

    Dig deeper and hit them harder, especially the practitioners whose daily job is to submit claims

  • Allrite Jack says:

    These are serious crimes with Mickey Mouse sentences as usual. We need deterrence, as the ANC has let crime get out of control. What about all those they got to lie about accidents? There must be 100 of them, who should be doing 5 years already. Some of these judges should be doing time, as they can’t understand the purpose of their jobs.

  • Grant S says:

    RAF money is the feeding trough of the ambulance chasing legal fraternity. Why do you think so many of the ‘respectable legal community’ offer a ‘no win, no fee’ service when it comes to RAF cases. Unethical people exploiting a system set up with good intention.

  • Ryckard Blake says:

    How come a couple and the wife’s mother can submit claims in other people’s name? Are they, or is one of them a lawyer, specialising in RAF claims processing?
    Were any of the three employed by the RAF? What was their agency?
    How come RAF claims scrutineers did not smell a rat whilst 40 alleged accidents were being milked by these same agents?

    • Christopher Campbell says:

      Good questions. Presumably they were acting as agents so that any payments would be made to them. My questions are can people claim for injuries without a police report of the incident and surely medical reports and receipts would also be needed.

  • Jimbo Smith says:

    Another day and another shocking scandalous story of theft and corruption. All the while Ramageddon sits on his hands, talks endless crap and does NOTHING.

  • Brian Bailey says:

    Why such a lenient sentence – for such large amounts they all deserve to sit for a minimum of 15 years before they can apply for parole. How much have they repaid?

  • Johan Buys says:

    The sentences are shockingly light for multiple carefully orchestrated crimes that were executed over an extended period of time.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    The mind boggles, are there no basic financial controls?

  • Stephen Mcbride says:

    The legal system is dysfunctional. To prosecute a case cost more than the case itself. So often cheaper to settle. The downside of that is that more people will then make dicey cases (and eventually downright fraudulent cases) if you do not spend the money and check it all.
    So it costs R100 000 to prosecute a R20 000 case. So you settle.
    But another 5 of these cases will cost R100 000.
    You prosecute the first case and lose R80 000 but they go to jail and monies confiscated then you will not get another 5 cases.

  • I am a legitimate claimant to the RAF and have undergone 3 operations resulting from the accident, and the RAF cannot confirm payment till 2028. The whole system is corrupt. Legitimate claims are delayed indefinitely whilst fraudulent claims seem to be paid sooner and more regularly. Employees at the RAF need investigating as well. My accident was in 2020 it is now 2024 and I am being told to wait for a court date in 2028, to hear my matter and “consider” a payment. This is all utter BS

  • Always reports on how someone defrauded or attempted to defraud the RAF but no reports on how the RAF simply ignores court orders to pay legitimate claims. The court ordered the RAF to pay me after batteling with them for 6 years. They were given 180 days to pay. Now 217 days later we haven’t seen a red cent or hard even a whisper from the RAF criminals

  • Elzabé Jakubowski says:

    This sentence does not at all equal the transgressions. And yes, where is the money?
    It is also true that other very big fish simply gets away – this is not how SA will be turned around.
    Sentences should be equal to transgressions – generally speaking – and this does not happen in our courts / country – sadly!

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

Make your taxes work for you

Donate to Daily Maverick’s non-profit arm, the Scorpio Investigative Unit, by 29 February 2024 and you’ll qualify for a tax break.

We issue Section 18A tax certificates for all donations made to Daily Maverick. These can be presented to SARS for tax relief.

Make your donation today

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Otsile Nkadimeng - photo by Thom Pierce

A new community Actionist every week.

Meet the South Africans making a difference. Get Maverick Citizen in your inbox.