Nation divided as Ramaphosa signs NHI Bill into law

President Cyril Ramaphosa has finally signed the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into law on Wednesday, causing divisions in the country.

Some argue that this will help the impoverished gain access to quality medical treatment, while others believe it will strangle an already deteriorating healthcare system and financially exploit taxpayers.

However, the South African Medical Association Trade Union (Samatu) expressed optimism. It praised the significant occurrence.

Monumental shift towards achieving universal health coverage

According to Samatu General Secretary Dr Cedric Sihlangu, this step represents a monumental shift towards achieving universal health coverage. It also ensures that every South African has access to quality healthcare.

“This development indicates that the government is cognisant of the inequalities that exist in South Africa’s healthcare system. It is committed to reforming the system, aiming to alleviate the burden on our public health facilities. This while also improving the quality of healthcare services across the board,” said Sihlangu.

Sihlangu said as a union representing doctors, they advocate for healthcare reforms.  Reforms that not only benefit its members, but also significantly improve patient care and access to health services.

“Samatu is committed to working alongside the government, healthcare providers, and the community to ascertain that the NHI fulfils its promise. That of a more inclusive and efficient healthcare system.”

The Health and Allied Workers Indaba Trade Union (Haitu) said the NHI is overdue.

“We must also ban the private healthcare completely in South Africa. So that we can ensure that every person is able to access the same quality of care. The owners of private healthcare have milked the public for decades. They are motivated purely by greed, which is why they are rejecting [NHI] so passionately. [These owners] care more about their profits, than about the collective wellbeing of the country,” said Lerato Mthunzi, Haitu General Secretary.

BOSA, DA condemns the move

However, Build One South Africa (BOSA) leader Mmusi Maimane described the NHI Bill as a death sentence for South African healthcare system.

“We have to reject this bill with everything within us. The NHI Bill is going to be devastating for this country. Ask Zimbabweans why they are crowding South African hospitals today. The Zanu PF destroyed their health system.”

Maimane’s former party, the Democratic Alliance, said Ramaphosa’s move was destructive.

Visit SW YouTube Channel for our video content

Latest News