Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. File photo: Masi Losi
It is gloves off as a health workers’ union vows to fight off any attempts to stop the “long overdue” implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI).

The SACP also weighed in on the matter, backing National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union’s (Nehawu’s) sentiments.

“We want to further warn anyone who still harbours ambitions of further delaying the NHI that they will be faced with the full might of the union.

“Although it is to be expected that private health-care providers would attack the NHI, the national union will never allow such attacks to go on unchallenged,” said Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha.

It was reported on Monday that a pressure group of professional health practitioners and academics is calling for a review of the newly approved NHI.

This came after Cosatu called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to axe Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

The NHI Bill was approved by the cabinet two weeks ago. Motsoaledi is expected to brief media on the new bill tomorrow.

“The South African Communist Party has noted the pursuit of an orchestrated campaign against the introduction of the NHI. The SACP is combat-ready and will take the capitalist profiteers - who benefit from the status quo - and their agents head-on until the NHI is successfully implemented,” said SACP national spokesperson Alex Mashilo.

“The SACP is therefore encouraging the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, to release the NHI Bill for and in the interests of the workers and poor, the majority of our nation.”

Mashilo said the NHI “must equalise access to quality health care for all, regardless of whether one is employed or unemployed, and regardless of one’s class location and income category”.

“At the heart of the campaign against the NHI are private financial interests and fronted elitist groupings,” Mashilo said.

Saphetha said the attack on Motsoaledi was also on millions of South Africans who stood to benefit from the NHI.

“It takes such ingrained elitist arrogance to seek to subvert and undermine the overwhelming successive electoral support given by the people of this country to the NHI.

“The national union shall not stand idle while its brainchild is rubbished by greedy private health-care providers in defence of their profits,” Saphetha said.

It was also reported that Motsoaledi’s presentation to the SACP central executive committee on June 2 claimed that billions of rand were being channelled to private health-care companies at the expense of the poor.

The minister’s presentation came in a scenario in which the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) plummeted in the first quarter of this year.

It shows that 8.5% of the country’s GDP went to health care, of which 4.4% was gobbled up by private health care, which serves only 16% of the population.

A whopping R46.7 billion was allegedly spent on government employees’ medical aid schemes, with the remaining 4.1% of the GDP going to a public health-care sector that accommodated 84% of the population.

“This (is) inhuman, cruel and unjust if not also barbaric and is obviously unacceptable,” Mashilo said.