NHI bill was certified constitutional, State law adviser says
Parliament - The controversial National Health Insurance Bill was constitutionally certified before it was submitted to Parliament, chief State law adviser Ayesha Johaar told MPs on Thursday.
Johaar told the portfolio committee on health the bill was certified on July 29.
She said State law advisers viewed it not only as being in line with the Constitution but written to give effect to the right to access health care services enshrined in Section 27 of the Constitution.
"Everyone has the right to access health care services .... this bill must then be regarded as a measure designed to give effect to a right enshrined in the constitution."
The Democratic Alliance earlier this month called on Parliament to say whether the bill had been certified as unconstitutional.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said it was his view that the draft law may not pass constitutional muster, in part because it centralised health care services and eroded the powers of provinces in this regard.
Maimane also described the bill as a plan to create another State-owned enterprise, at a time when Eskom's woes has put in question the government's ability to run parastatals.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize this week told the media that government would handle the implementation of the NHI cautiously and had no intention of bankrupting the country.
On Thursday, he told MPs that the measure was in line with "the principle of social solidarity" by which South Africans took care of each other.
The bill gives effect to a resolution adopted by the ruling party in 2007.
It is aimed at addressing the imbalance in the health care system which sees 84 percent of the population rely on an understaffed public system while 16 percent have access to private health care.
African News Agency/ANA