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Parliament - The deputy Minister of Health, Joe Phaahla, insists that those objecting to the National Health Insurance (NHI) system do so because of their fear of the unknown.

Phaahla told MPs in Parliament on Thursday that in its current form, the healthcare system in the country was unsustainable and that the NHI would fix the defects.

He called on all stakeholders to support the plan as it would overhaul the provision of healthcare.

“We want to move from a premise that the South African health system as it exists is unsustainable,” he said.

He said those objecting to the NHI did so because they feared not knowing how exactly plan the would be handled.

“This is a disruptive intervention of those us in the upper side, the 15% who can access private healthcare,” said Phaahla. He added the budget set aside for the public healthcare system was R230billion.

Phaahla also denied that the government would need more cash for the implementation of the NHI.

“The allegation that the entire cost of providing NHI is going to be new is not true.

"If you restructure the R230bn, you don’t need new money,” he said.

Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize meanwhile said they would not delay the implementation of the NHI.

Mkhize said it was the right thing to do, and that many countries were implementing universal health coverage.

The Department of Health denied the pilot sites for the NHI had failed.

The deputy director-general in the department, Anbhan Pillay, said the pilot projects had been placed in 11 districts across the country, and lessons had been learnt from a report that emerged out of the project.

Political Bureau