The Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) used to be an agency of government that levied motorists on every liter of fuel as they filled at the petrol station. The money would later be used to compensate victims of road accidents. But for the fund’s Chief Executive Officer, Cross Kgosidiile, his dream is to see ‘compensation being a last resort’.
“We have a shared dream”, he told Sunday Standard. “We want to see people live a normal life, free from accidents.”
Kgosidiile took over the reigns at MVA at a time when there was a lot of criticism of the fund that it was focusing a lot on cash compensation rather that restoring people’s lives again. Because the fund focused more on monetary compensation, it was subject to abuse and fraud as over quoting was possible.
The criticism of the fund led to the review of the MVA Fund Act 1998 with a new one last year, which has been described as positive since it covered victims of road accidents that were not previously covered.
The Act was passed in Parliament last year, but the new changes were effected in November this year. “The changes it brought are well received. To cover every victim of road accident is welcome,” he observed.
Under the previous legislation, deserving victims were denied compensation as they were not covered by the law while it took a long time for those deserving compensation to get their dues.
“If you hit your kid with a car, he is covered. The changes are positive,” he said. Although he does not want to take credit for the changes. Since he took over in 2005, the fund has been known throughout the country.
People became aware of MVA Fund as he and his team brought about a number of initiatives to reach out to the public. Since 2007, the fund started interacting with the public and got involved in outreach programmes with the media, including the newspapers.
The MVA has also become visible in the media through advertising, including in vernacular (Setswana) and has been visible in programmes like Maokaneng.
The fund has also had an audience with Members of Parliament where the fund came under attack from legislators and councilors.
Kgosidiile also revealed they had a quarterly publication (MVA Today) and a number of safety campaigns. MVA has also opened new offices in Kang to add to three it already has in Gaborone, Francistown and Maun.
He says the Kang office was opened because that part of the country is remote and far from the nearest MVA office.
“It is along the Trans Kalahari Highway where there is a concentration of traffic: that is the guiding principle,” he revealed. Kgosidiile also revealed that they are planning to open another office in Palapye “hopefully in the first quarter of 2009”.
He says, currently, they are negotiating a lease for the new office.
Kgosidiile says the reason for pondering a new office in this town that will also house a Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) is because it is along the A1 highway, which has a road accident statistics.
Kgosidiile says his aim is to see accidents on Botswana roads fall. He says the major challenge is that there should be few accidents in which lives are lost and gave an example of recent accidents where 4 people died around Ramaphatle and the others in Naledi around Jwaneng. “Accidents are reduced, but are not proportionate with fatalities. We need to do a lot to address this,” he said. According to his statistics, by the end of September this year, road accidents were down 14% from last year.
He is concerned that a majority of accidents are caused by bad behavior, adding that this is the area that the country needs to focus on.
MVA has partnered with a number of organisations amongst them government, Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL), BoMAID and Shell, to help to save lives. Already the partnership is paying dividends in that the resources are pooled together. He says they are continuing with the MVAs 20th anniversary with activities planned for November 21 to 24 in Maun and Mahalapye. He revealed that they have agreed with partners to start road safety campaigns by December 10 rather than the normal campaigns that used to start towards Christmas Day.
He added that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Namibia Road Accident Fund to lessen the hustle of being compensated after a road accident. He says that if an individual has an accident in Namibia, MVA Botswana can help compile the information and assist victims make a claim.
The suggestion was first made by Namibia MVA and it is likely to be rolled out to other countries like South Africa.
Kgosidiile became the CEO of MVA fund in 2005, replacing Regina Vaka who is now with Botswana Life. He came from the national airliner Air Botswana where he was a finance manager.
When he took over, he acknowledged that there was a challenge for the public because they still lacked education on how they could utilise the services of the fund. Kgosidiile, who holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) degree from the University of Botswana also previously worked for the Cash Bazaar Group.