South East South Member of Parliament, Odirile Motlhale, intends to notice a motion in parliament soon asking the government to consider establishing a fund to cover personal injury to citizens for all accidents other than those resulting from vehicles.
The Botswana Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, which was born out of escalating road accidents and funded through the fuel levy, does not have a provision that covers citizens from domestic accidents that may result from slippery floors at shopping malls or at homes, for instance.
A globetrotter, the legislator told The Sunday Standard that he has been inspired by a model in New Zealand where there exists the Accident Compensation Corporation that provides a comprehensive no-fault personal injury cover for all residents and visitors to New Zealand.
“Any citizen peasant who accidentally injures himself/herself with an axe while chopping firewood and a domestic worker or a retired citizen who slips inside the house and break their hips must be covered by some sort of an accident fund,” he said.
Motlhale says if the country emulates a similar model to the ACC of New Zealand, citizens can contribute insignificant personal amounts of money monthly that would go a long way in helping the unemployed who get injured and are not covered by the MVA.
“In New Zealand, the government has a levy for workers with a regular income where they pay about one dollar a month. The money funds domestic accidents. The MVA is funded by the petrol levy; it has excesses running into millions of pula with a small levy charged on workers, we can have a fund that covers all citizens from personal injury,” he says.
The legislator is of the view that Botswana must emulate New Zealand to cover all citizens from accidents regardless from where they occur. The Accident Compensation Corporation of New Zealand allows citizens and non-citizens who get injured to apply for help whether or not they are working, retired, a child, a student, if an accident happened at work, during sport or recreation, at home or on the road.
The ACC’s role is to prevent injury and make sure that people get treatment for injury if it happens and help them back to everyday life as soon as possible. The ACC oversees and coordinates the help clients get and pays a weekly regular form of income compensation calculated at the client’s usual earnings.
The Botswana Motor Vehicle Accident Fund started operations in 1987. Its establishment was born of necessity by the insurance industry’s announcement of intended increases of third party premiums by up to 600 per cent. The industry had cited escalating road traffic accidents as the root cause of the intended premium increase, but government was concerned that the proposed escalations were out of reach for most motorists. The fund was born with the ultimate aim of providing “automatic” third party cover through the payment of a fuel levy. The process culminated in the enactment of the Motor Vehicle Insurance Fund Act of 1986 according to its official website.