Health Minister’s NHI assurances nothing but politicking

Issued by Michele Clarke MP – DA Shadow Minister of Health
15 Feb 2024 in News

The DA notes the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla’s failed attempt to placate South Africans that the ANC government will not use every opportunity and loophole to bleed the National Health Insurance (NHI) Fund dry before a single patient ever benefits from the scheme.

The truth is that the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate only managed to lift the wool even further from South Africans’ eyes. We are not fooled.

Minister Phaahla’s assurances about how the NHI Fund would be safe in the hands of the ANC government falls flat when considering that the masterminds behind whistleblower Babita Deokaran’s murder still walk free more than two years after she paid with her life to reveal corruption at Tembisa Hospital in Gauteng. His word means nothing when not a single company has been blacklisted by any Department within the public health sector. Nor has there have been any high-level arrests or prosecutions regarding the Digital Vibes scandal, despite strong evidence linking former Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize and his family to the R150 million corrupt deal.

In September last year the Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum (HSACF) raised concerns regarding the increased prevalence of fraudulent medico-legal claims, which cost the Eastern Cape 80.8% of its R24 billion budget in 2022. Only R4.6 billion remained after accruals and medico-legal claims were deducted.

As for the Minister’s promises that all 800 unemployed doctors will have a job by April; we will believe it only when we see it. The DA will keep a close eye on Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s budget next week. It would be interesting to see where the ANC government has suddenly found the money to curb this problem when the budget had been blamed for many years for the massive vacancy rate. We also wait with baited breath to see how the ANC government plans to suddenly fund the NHI after Minister Godongwana’s repeated statements that government could not afford it.