Solly Mapaila is Second Deputy General Secretary of the South African Communist Party. File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - SACP deputy General Secretary Solly Mapaila has launched an attack on the private health sector saying it was against the National Health Insurance (NHI) in order to continue making a profit out of poor South Africans. 

Mapaila told Independent Media before the start of the seminar on the NHI at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday that the government should launch the new public health insurance system to protect the poor from exploitation. 

“NHI is important for the poor and workers because you don’t have to pay for the health service, and you cannot be refused treatment because you don’t have money.

“The private sector does not want to share the resources, and the government would make sure everyone has access to national health, which is what the private sector does not want. 

“That would stop them from making super profit out of the people’s illness, and we should never allow the private sector to determine who lives and who does not,” said Mapaila. 

He said that only the government would ensure the sustainability of the NHI by making sure that the rich subsidise the health service for the poor. 

The seminar is organised by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) with an aim of allowing its members to share their views and understand the importance of the NHI. 

Mapaila and KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu are expected to address workers at the university’s Howard College. Simelane-Zulu is expected to talk about the province’s readiness for the introduction of the NHI.

Mapaila described NHI as the democratic government’s greatest achievement. He said it was “absolute nonsense” that the government cannot run NHI based on the fact that the state-owned enterprises were collapsing due to corruption and lack of capacity. He said the government has achieved many things for the sake of the poor, “we continue to be where we are because of the government”.

“The achievement of the public service can never be comparable to the private sector, which is profit driven and seeks to undermine the introduction of NHI,” Mapaila said.