ActionSA calls on Ramaphosa not to sign NHI Bill into law

ActionSA president Herman Mashaba. Picture: Jacques Naude Independent Newspapers

ActionSA president Herman Mashaba. Picture: Jacques Naude Independent Newspapers

Published Dec 10, 2023


ActionSA president Herman Mashaba says his party has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa calling on him to not sign the National Health Insurance Bill into law.

This comes after the draft legislation was approved last week by the National Council of Provinces, with eight of the country’s nine provinces voting for it to be adopted.

The bill has attracted fierce criticism from the health sector, as well as from various opposition political parties, including the Democratic Alliance and ActionSA, which have voted against the bill.

There has been criticism that government forged ahead with the measure despite widespread criticism from healthcare organisations and businesses about a lack of consultation.

These same organisations have also urged Ramaphosa not to sign the bill into law.

Last week, medical specialists and general practitioners announced they would rather close their surgeries than work under the government’s National Health Insurance (NHI).

Solidarity medical sector co-ordinator Peirru Marx said medical doctors who are members of the Solidarity Doctors’ Network were strongly opposed to the NHI Bill.

“Our research undeniably shows that the NHI is not supported by those in the medical profession. They do not want to be part of it. They know it is an election gimmick, and in reality conditions will be much worse for South Africans and for South Africa under the NHI,” Marx said.

Mashaba said that while the bill has lofty intentions, it will not achieve the desired outcomes due to endemic corruption.

“While the NHI bill is well-intentioned to address healthcare inequality in South Africa, the proposal is ill-conceived as it will open up healthcare for grand scale corruption, as we have seen during the Covid-19 pandemic, when billions were lost through PPE and related corruption.

“We must never forget the lives of whistle-blowers such as Babita Deokaran, lost for addressing this corruption.”

Mashaba said the country has had too many incidents of corruption and mismanagement of SOEs, proving that the government would not be able to fully implement the bill.

“The state has consistently proven unable to manage money or complex systems, as we have seen at Eskom, Transnet and Sassa, and the creation of another healthcare behemoth will therefore do little to address healthcare, but instead open up the industry to state capture and abuse.

“In South Africa, our problem is often not funding, but the money lost through corruption and mismanagement.” Mashaba said.

Rather than the NHI Bill, Ramaphosa should focus his energies on improving the poor state of the country’s public healthcare system.

“ActionSA believes that the state should rather focus its attention on improving the current performance of our healthcare institutions.“

He said that if elected into government, ActionSA would reform the Health Department, prioritising front line healthcare by training additional doctors and nurses, and eliminating corruption in public hospitals.

“To improve access to affordable comprehensive medical insurance, we will review the private healthcare insurance industry, expand minimum prescribed benefits for private healthcare users and implement regulations to prevent over-charging,“ he said.

The Star

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