SACP, Cosatu welcome NHI Bill but business to petition President Cyril Ramaphosa

Big business said it will petition President Cyril Ramaphosa not to sign the NHI Bill in its current form. Picture Henk Kruger/Independent Newspapers

Big business said it will petition President Cyril Ramaphosa not to sign the NHI Bill in its current form. Picture Henk Kruger/Independent Newspapers

Published Dec 7, 2023


Business says it will write to President Cyril Ramaphosa to urge him to refer the National Health Insurance back to Parliament because it was unconstitutional.

Business Unity South Africa (Busa) and Business for South Africa (B4SA) said the bill was also unworkable and unaffordable.

But the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African of Trade Unions (Cosatu) said they welcome the adoption of the NHI Bill by the National Council of Provinces.

Busa and B4SA said the Constitution was very clear when the president has reservations about the bill.

One of the mechanisms on the table was to send it back to Parliament for the lawmakers to fix it and ensure it is in line with the Constitution.

In their petition to Ramaphosa the business organisations will raise the fact that the bill was flawed and it was passed without any amendments by the NCOP.

“Procedurally, it notes that Parliament’s socio-economic impact assessment process was inadequate, that the Nedlac process in respect of the Bill was not followed through, that public participation inputs were not properly considered and that multiple constructive inputs from business and other stakeholders have been ignored,” said Busa and B4SA.

The SACP said it welcomed the adoption of the bill by the NCOP.

It called on Ramaphosa to sign it into law. The SACP said the implementation of the NHI will end the two-tier health system in the country.

It will establish a single system for all South Africans. The NHI will guarantee quality healthcare for everyone, said the SACP.

Cosatu also welcomed the NHI bill and said it will address the skewed distribution of healthcare services in the country.

“South Africa spends 8.5% of its Gross Domestic Product on healthcare. This is higher than many industrialised and peer nations. However, half of this is spent on the 16% of society fortunate enough to have medical aid. The other half is spent on public health care for the 84% dependent upon the state,” said Cosatu.

“As a result, we have first class but under-utilised private health care available for 16% but charged at exorbitant prices and public health care overwhelmed with long queues, critical post vacancies, ageing infrastructure and shortages and thus battling to provide basic health care for the 84% of society.”

The Hospital Association of South Africa said it was disappointed by the decision of the NCOP to pass the bill without further engaging on proposals and submissions made.

It said there was no clarity on the funding of the NHI. In addition, there was a critical shortage of doctors and nurses.

The Board of Healthcare Funders said it was also disappointed that the bill was passed without any changes despite various submissions from a number of stakeholders.

It said Parliamentary committees had ignored submissions that were made. A number of provisions of the bill were unconstitutional.

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