Finance Minister admits ANC national government is too broke to afford NHI

Issued by Michele Clarke MP – DA Shadow Minister of Health
12 Sep 2023 in News

The Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana, has repeatedly stated that South Africa cannot afford the NHI, with his most recent admission coming at the News24’s On the Record Summit. It is clear that the rest of his comrades in the ANC either do not understand simple economics or refuse to listen to logic.

The Finance Minister’s admissions are, in no uncertain terms, confirmation that the NHI is nothing more than a cheap political trick by the ANC to try and garner support from poor South Africans who are in desperate need of quality healthcare, only to be hoodwinked once elections have come and gone.

Parliament is in the process of holding public hearings around the country on the NHI Bill and the DA encourages all members of the public, healthcare professionals, stakeholders, and experts to raise their concerns regarding the Bill whenever a public hearing is held in their area. (Please see the schedule below.)

Despite the National Treasury’s continuous and crystal-clear communication that the NHI is not a feasible solution to the multiple problems of the public health system, Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, has steadfastly refused to see reason. Nor has he or his Department revealed a viable funding plan.

At Friday’s public participation hearing in Sebokeng, Gauteng, participants made it clear that NHI funding is one of the major concerns of the public. Their other concerns were the rampant corruption and looting, severe human resource shortages, and dangerous infrastructure.

Despite spending at least R26 billion on the NHI in the past decade, as per the Health Minister during an oral question session in Parliament, the public health sector is degrading day by day, and is not ready to form the basis of a functional universal health system. In fact, in February this year, Minister Phaahla revealed in answer to a written question from the DA that only 37% of hospitals and only 55% of Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities have “ideal” status.

Ideal Clinics are facilities that conform to the following standard: “good infrastructure, adequate staff, adequate medicine and supplies, good administrative processes and sufficient bulk supplies that use applicable clinical policies, protocols, guidelines to ensure the provision of quality health services to the community”. What this means is that almost two-thirds of public hospitals are not fit for purpose.

While the ANC members of the parliamentary portfolio committee on health refused to take the public participation process seriously and ignored the contributions of all manner of experts, health professionals, stakeholders, communities, and opposition parties, the DA encourages the members of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to respect the contribution of the public they are meant to serve and truly listen to their concerns.

South Africa cannot afford the NHI, and the public cannot afford to have an already buckling public health sector completely crumble. No universal health system has any hope of success if the systemic issues aren’t first addressed – chronic personnel, medicine, and stock shortages; broken and ill-maintained infrastructure; systemic corruption and mismanagement.

The ANC government has failed to implement consistent consequence management, without which failure is guaranteed.

Date  Venue  Time
14 September 2023 Benoni: Tshepo-Themba Multipurpose Resource Centre
21 September 2023 Johannesburg: Brixton Multipurpose Centre
Western Cape 
Date  Venue  Time 
18 September 2023 Beaufort West: Rustdene Hall   09:00 – 12:00
19 September 2023 George: Banqueting Hall, 71 York Street   09:00 – 12:00
20 September 2023 Caledon: Victoria Hall, Ian Toerien Way   09:00 – 12:00
22 September 2023 Cape Town: WCG chamber, 7 Wale Street   09:00 – 12:00
26 September 2023 Saldanha Bay: White City Multi-purpose Centre   09:00 – 12:00
27 September 2023 Vredendal: Vredendal Sports Hall, Dam Street   09:00 – 12:00
29 September 2023 Paarl: Thusong Centre, Mbekweni   09:00 – 12:00