Parliament cancels important NHI meeting

Issued by Michele Clarke MP – DA Shadow Minister of Health
07 Mar 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Michele Clarke MP.

The DA is very concerned that a briefing by the Parliamentary Legal Services and the State Law Advisors regarding the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, has once again been postponed by the parliamentary portfolio committee on health.

The DA has serious concerns regarding the financial feasibility of the Bill as well as the devastating impact it would have on an already crumbling public health system.

The ANC members serving on the committee, Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla, and his Department have danced around these concerns raised by health stakeholders, opposition parties and the public at large. We can only hope that these postponement indicate a rare moment of introspection and realisation that the interests of the public should trump the interests of the ANC and that this mad scheme has finally been abandoned.

The NHI is not the only important issue that needs the committee’s urgent attention. Questions about the Department’s plans to exempt hospitals and clinics from loadshedding needs to be interrogated as a matter of urgency.

According to the latest information from the Minister in parliamentary questions, not a single hospital has been exempt from loadshedding since November 2022 – 76 in total.

It seems the ANC government has once again overplayed its hand – trying to use a state of disaster to implement a plan that should have been perfectly feasible and implementable without it.

South Africans deserve a government that does not gamble with their health and their lives. Madcap plans that arrogantly ignore basic feasibility requirements will not benefit the public. Instead, the Department must focus on getting the basics right: investment and maintenance of infrastructure and equipment, the filling of crucial posts and consistent consequence management.