Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. File photo: GCIS.

Parliament - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has stuck to his guns that the government will not delay the implementation of the National Health Insurance in the country.

Mkhize told Parliament on Thursday the national legislature must pass the NHI Bill to enable the government to implement the NHI.

It has been estimated that the implementation of the NHI will cost over R256 billion. The National Treasury had done some of the studies on the cost for NHI.

Opposition parties have been objecting to the NHI saying the government would not be able to implement it because the healthcare system was in a state of collapse.

They said the government must fix the hospitals first before beginning with the rollout of the NHI.

But Mkhize said many countries including Japan, France and the UK had implemented universal health coverage when their economies were not performing well.

The minister said Parliament must push through with the NHI Bill and pass it.

“We can’t be a country delaying so much. Sometimes we are hesitant, we are behind other countries,” he said.

The government has been under pressure on the NHI with opposition parties saying it would not be able to work.

Mkhize said countries who were implementing universal health coverage had gone through difficult situations. 

Political Bureau