Picture: 123RF/Aleksandr Kurganov
Picture: 123RF/Aleksandr Kurganov

The Road Accident Fund (RAF) is bankrupt. But that hasn’t stopped it from renting 300 office chairs at a price of R1,666/month per chair.

That’s a grand total of R500,000/month, according to the Sunday Times.

The fund was planning to take the chair thing to a whole new level with a R60m rental contract over a five-year period. Thankfully, someone stopped that in its tracks.

What makes this story particularly galling is its connection to SA’s rampant fuel price. The perfect storm of rising crude oil prices and a weakening rand have pushed the price of petrol to about R16/l in some parts of the country. Of that, R1.93 goes to the RAF.

So every time you fill up a 75l tank, you pay R144.75 towards the financing of chairs to keep the good folk of the RAF comfortable while they check their Facebook profiles and LOL at cat videos on WhatsApp.

The latter comment may seem unfair, but it is clear that the staff at the fund are not directing their attention to running it properly.

The fund has been far less efficient — and resourceful — when it comes to its primary function of paying out money to accident victims than it has in renting chairs.

The beneficiary of the petrol-funded chair contract was one Gxakwes Projects, which the Sunday Times last year revealed had been "red-flagged" by national treasury for a similar deal with Eskom.

Apparently such red flags are a mere annoyance to be swatted away by the powers that run the fund. What does treasury know about striking a good furniture deal?

Back to Eskom: the power utility, also somewhat short of bucks due to generous coal contracts with the Guptas and a swelling staff bill, wanted to pay Gxakwes R24m for 9,217 "operator and visitor chairs". Treasury visited Eskom’s offices and found that only 500 chairs were needed.

But wait! There’s a very good reason the RAF is renting furniture and other office items.

Its chief marketing officer, Phumelela Dhlomo, explained that if the furniture were owned, it would be attached by the sheriff.

"Since the last attachment by the sheriff 12 months ago at our Menlyn branch, we have been leasing furniture and computer equipment."

And you thought the fund didn’t know how to manage its finances. Shame on you!

Now go fill up your tank and let’s pay for those chair rentals.