Johannesburg - Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters has not wasted time ruffling feathers in Parliament – rejecting the medical aid scheme for MPs outright.
The party said the Parmed medical scheme was imposed on MPs through “illegal apartheid legislation” and expressed shock at how all MPs had continued to use it since the democratic government in 1994.
The EFF said MPs and the entire cabinet should be forced to use public healthcare institutions or facilities.
“The medical aid scheme is imposed and enforced on members of Parliament regardless of their preferred choices… Shockingly, all members of the democratic Parliament since 1994 have been wilfully compliant with it,” said EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
The Star reported on Wednesday that Malema had said he would not give up on his medical aid, which gives him access to private healthcare.
He also said he would not take his son out of an elite private school.
This is despite his earlier call on public representatives to use public facilities, amenities and institutions.
Ndlozi said a decision was taken to withdraw all its MPs from Parmed because the scheme could not satisfactorily explain why it was compulsory when questioned during the induction workshop on Tuesday.
He said the scheme charged each MP a minimum of R4 300 a month, making it “by far one of the most expensive” in the country.
“This amount excludes dependants, which means members of Parliament will spend no less than R8 600, depending on the number of dependants,” Ndlozi said.
“The EFF shall put the legislation up for review and ensure that no member of Parliament is forced to use the scheme,” he said, adding that MPs and the entire cabinet should “be forced to use public healthcare over which they preside”.
Ndlozi sought to defend Malema for his seemingly contradictory stance on the use of public services.
He said Malema and the party had not back-tracked on the insistence that public representatives use public services in healthcare and schooling.
“The rationale for such a stance is to ensure that government leaders preside over public services that they themselves use because that will make sure that public services are of superior quality. (Malema) and, indeed, the EFF leadership collective have not retreated from the said stance on use of public services.”
He said the campaign was dependent on the party being elected into government or a law being passed compelling all public representatives to use public services.
He added: “The EFF will table a motion in Parliament that a law be passed to force all public representatives to use public services, but the EFF will not force its public representatives to use public services whose quality it has no control over and power to improve.”
Parliamentary spokesman Luzuko Jacobs declined to comment on Wednesday and referred The Star to the act governing medical schemes.