Resident Letischa Slabb spoke during the National Assembly committee on health public hearings about the National Health Insurance in Khayelitsha on Wednesday. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency
Resident Letischa Slabb spoke during the National Assembly committee on health public hearings about the National Health Insurance in Khayelitsha on Wednesday. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency

'Fix ailing health system before NHI begins its work'

By Mwangi Githathu Time of article published Feb 6, 2020

Share this article:

Cape Town - The first tranche of funding for the National Health Insurance (NHI) should be focused on fixing South Africa’s ailing health sector.

This was the position taken by health activists in Khayelitsha before the public hearings conducted in the area by the National Assembly committee on health on Wednesday evening.

Khayelitsha Health Forum (KHF) activist Tamara Sam said: “While we support the ideals of the NHI, we need to fix the system first before the NHI begins to work.”

The KHF collected the views of a number of civil society groups in Khayelitsha, including the Khayelitsha Development Forum, so as to approach the portfolio committee with a single voice.

Sam said: “The NHI is a first step to better our public health-care system.

“One of the concerns we have is we would like to know exactly how the NHI Bill will be implemented

and whether there will be further consultations with communities such as ours?”

Parliament Committee on Health held public hearings on the National Insurance (NHI) Bill in the Western Cape. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency

Parliament Committee on Health held public hearings on the National Insurance (NHI) Bill in the Western Cape. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency

Parliament Committee on Health held public hearings on the National Insurance (NHI) Bill in the Western Cape. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency

Khayelitsha resident and DA councillor, Thulani Dasa, said: “The establishment of a multi-billion rand NHI fund that will be managed like an SOE is likely to open it up to corruption by the politically connected few.

“There are no proper governance structures to ensure the board that will manage the fund is independent.

“The minister is likely going to appoint those loyal to himself and this fund will be looted like Eskom, SAA and others.”

Speaking about the portfolio committee’s work so far, chairman Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said: “Our job is to listen to the people. Along the course of our visits to other provinces across the country, one of the biggest concerns we have heard is the fear that NHI will become another badly managed SOE. The people want the NHI to be governed by people of impeccable character.”

Regarding the question of greater inclusion of the public, Dhlomo said: “The committee always emphasises its commitment to meaningful and inclusive public participation process, and the fact that public participation is one of the constitutional imperatives and the cornerstone of South Africa’s democratic dispensation.”

The NHI is intended to achieve universal access to healthcare services in South Africa, which is a constitutional right, and it is a financing system that will ensure citizens of South Africa are provided with essential healthcare services, regardless of social standing.

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health will be in the Garden Route District on Friday, where it will hold hearings in the George Civic Centre at 4.30pm. 

The next day it will visit the Central Karoo District. Although a venue has yet to be announced, it hopes to starts its hearings at 10am.

Anda Ntsodo speaking during the Parliament Committee on Health's public hearings on the National Insurance (NHI) Bill. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency

Resident Letischa Slabb spoke during the National Assembly committee on health public hearings about the National Health Insurance in Khayelitsha on Wednesday. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency

@MwangiGithahu

Share this article: