DA calls on ANC to pause NHI Bill after recent High Court Order

Issued by Michelle Clark MP – DA Shadow Minister of Health
10 Jul 2022 in News

In a huge win for doctors and the healthcare sector at large, a recent order handed down by the Gauteng North High Court declared sections 36 to 40 of the National Health Act unconstitutional. These sections relate to certificates of need (CON) which force doctors to apply for permission before they can open a practice in an area.

The High Court referred these sections to the Constitutional Court for consideration. If the Constitutional Court confirms the High Court’s order, those sections will be declared unconstitutional and unenforceable.

Given the latest developments, the DA has written to the ANC chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on health, Dr Kenneth Leonard Jacobs, to urge him to pause all further deliberations on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill until the Constitutional Court has finally decided upon the matter. Once the Court has decided, the committee can then proceed accordingly.

The NHI Bill relies heavily on these CONs in order to force doctors to work in appalling hospital conditions, without working equipment or adequate supplies. These CONs are a fundamental and core part of the NHI and now that these sections have been provisionally declared unconstitutional, it raises uncertainty as to how the ANC can possibly proceed with it at this time.

The DA, together with the majority of healthcare NGOs, have always opposed the NHI in its current, dangerous format. It is also no secret that the ANC has been pushing this Bill through Parliament with its majority, despite objections from every corner.

The DA’s request for a pause is more than reasonable given the implications should the CONs be confirmed as unconstitutional. The ANC’s refusal of our reasonable request will be a clear indication that they intend to ignore the Constitution, just as they were found to have done in the State Capture Reports. It will also prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the NHI Bill is nothing more than another tool to grab at power, just like had been done during the Covid-19 lockdowns.