ANC bulldozes NHI Bill through Committee

Issued by Michele Clarke MP – DA Shadow Minister of Health
14 May 2023 in News

The Democratic Alliance (DA) strongly condemns the ANC’s bulldozing of the NHI Bill through the Health Portfolio Committee without amendments from opposition parties, despite overwhelming legal opinions and arguments to do so.

This move by the ANC is worrying, particularly their amendment to change the definition of “migrant” to “foreigner”, which groups all non-citizens in the same bracket, including legally granted asylum seekers who may be subject to the same level (or lack thereof) of healthcare as illegal foreigners.

The DA has already presented its Minority Report to the Chairperson to place on record its total opposition to the Bill in its current form.

We reiterate that the NHI Bill will bankrupt South Africa and not solve its medical crisis. The lack of feasibility studies and impact assessments in a post-COVID-19 world, where the economy looks vastly different from what it did, is concerning. The timelines proposed in the original bill are also fatally flawed. The Bill makes provision for two phases, phase 1 between 2017 – 2022, and phase 2 between 2022 – 2026. The timeline for phase 1 has come and gone and we are almost halfway through phase two – before the Bill has even been made law. The ANC’s attempt to shift the goalposts to later dates is not acceptable. The prevailing economic circumstances, levels of corruption, and the quality of current healthcare must be taken into consideration.

Without a financial certificate of approval or budget approval from the Minister of Finance, the Bill cannot even pretend to be valid and constitutional. We will continue to fight against this dangerous bill in the House and National Council of Provinces and have submitted written questions to the Minister of Finance to request a copy of a financial certificate of approval and a full outline of the budget for NHI.

We call on the ANC to be transparent and provide these documents to prove that they are not using this bill as a mere election campaign tool for 2024. It is essential to take South Africa into their confidence and consider the long-term impact of this Bill.