HomeNewsLatest NewsCourt Protects 'Unfit, Illiterate' Woman's R2.28m From Road Accident Fund

Court Protects ‘Unfit, Illiterate’ Woman’s R2.28m From Road Accident Fund

“To continue subjecting the patient to curatorship … would be tantamount to endorsing the unfortunate and unfounded belief that only those who are sufficiently schooled in the Western ways of doing things have an inherent right and can be trusted to properly manage large estates."

Court Protects 'Unfit, Illiterate' Woman's R2.28m From Road Accident Fund - SurgeZirc SA
Court Protects ‘Unfit, Illiterate’ Woman’s R2.28m From Road Accident Fund.

A court of appeals intervened to protect a woman’s R2.28 million payout from the Road Accident Fund after she was involved in an accident. The woman stated that she intended to give at least R1m of the reward to her family and friends.

The woman, who cannot be recognized owing to her circumstances, was previously deemed unable to manage her own financial affairs by a court due to her illiteracy and inability to understand and interpret financial advice.

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The appointment of a curator was endorsed by the neuropsychologist who examined her. Her functional illiteracy was discovered to be unconnected to the car accident.

At the time, the court appointed an advocate to act in her interests and make financial decisions for her. It was recognized that a curatorship did not have to be a permanent element of her life because she was of sound mind and may eventually become financially savvy.

The attorney aided her in successfully launching her claim against the RAF and ensuring that her money was spent properly and to her advantage through a trust.

However, the woman’s daughter petitioned the Western Cape High Court to have her mother released from her curatorship so that she may spend her mother’s money as she pleased.

The daughter told the court that her mother was of sound mind and could thus do whatever she wanted with the money. The daughter said in court that she was close to her mother and had “real concern” for her well-being.

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She stated that a specialist who recently checked her mother stated that she had healed from the injury and was thus ready to handle her own financial matters, according to the daughter.

She also stated that her mother was fed up with the curator, whose curatorship “has a negative impact on her life, status, and dignity because she is treated like an imbecile.”

The mother was not a party to that application since she had obtained legal advice that she could not initiate such proceedings because she had been placed under curatorship.

The curator rejected the application, claiming that there had been no substantive change in the circumstances that had warranted the imposed curatorship, that she had not grown financially literate, and that she remained incapable of handling her own affairs.

He told the court that she planned to give away more than R1 million to family and friends, despite having no knowledge of the notion of contributions tax, and that she planned to invest R1.2 million but couldn’t explain how she planned to do so.

She was also upset because he had denied her access to huge sums to pay for coffins and burial expenditures for family and non-related members, including R35 000 for her mother’s coffin.

A judge at the time ruled in favour of the daughter, believing she had her mother’s best interests at heart.

He also said that the mother did not want the curatorship to continue and asked whether it was, “fair to disregard her wishes and continue to subject her to the standards and expectations of people who are better educated or have higher levels of intelligence.”

“To continue subjecting the patient to curatorship … would be tantamount to endorsing the unfortunate and unfounded belief that only those who are sufficiently schooled in the Western ways of doing things have an inherent right and can be trusted to properly manage large estates.

“In our country, Africa, where people have a culture of living communally, it would not be fair to condone this kind of attitude. A cultural misplacement should neither be allowed nor promoted,” the judge said.

“The courts must be alive and adept enough to put a halt on pure commercial tendencies from undermining the working and established practices of people who do not conform to the popular Western expectations,” the judge added.

According to the judgment by the judge, an R35 000 casket would have been a lasting mark of her appreciation for her mother, and the patient had the right to make such a decision.

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On appeal, however, three judges disagreed. They argued that the judge’s remarks that such safeguards indicate the imposition of “Western ways” on “people who do not conform to popular Western expectations” were without substance.

According to the most recent ruling, she will be under curatorship until future neuropsychological reports indicate she is competent in handling her own affairs.

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Elize Coetzee for SurgeZirc SA
Elize Coetzee for SurgeZirc SAhttps://new.surgezirc.co.za
Elize Coetzee, a seasoned journalist, is the driving force behind SurgeZirc SA’s world news and world politics coverage. With an unwavering commitment to truth, Elize delves into global affairs, providing live updates, in-depth investigations, and thought-provoking analysis. Whether it’s geopolitical tensions, international diplomacy, or breaking stories, Elize’s incisive reporting keeps readers informed and engaged.
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