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DA: NHI will be ‘Eskom for healthcare’ due to public health misconduct

Provincial debt a clear sign that government would fail to run NHI successfully.

 by Junie Sihlangu

 2019-10-11 11:34

in News

President Ramaphosa outlines his vision on the National Health Insurance(NHI), at the National Health Insurance and Medical Schemes Amendment Bill Stakeholder Consultative Meeting, at the CSIR in Pretoria. Photo: Flickr/GCIS


According to the Democratic Alliance (DA), implementing the National Health Insurance (NHI) bill would be a disaster for South African citizens.

The political party noted how the African National Congress-led (ANC) government planned on eliminating private healthcare in favour of NHI. However, seven out of eight provinces were said to be collapsing due to non-payment of invoices.

NHI will fail due to invoice non-payment

The provinces were led by the ANC and the department of health was the biggest offender. On 30 March 2019, provincial health departments owed R5.8 billion in unpaid invoices which were older than 30 days.

Three months later, the number had gone up with an additional R3.7 billion of unpaid debt. The DA’s Leon Schreiber, a member of parliament (MP) and Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration, felt this was a clear indication that running the NHI wasn’t a good idea.

Schreiber said the government wouldn’t run the R256 billion NHI fund successfully if they couldn’t “ensure that the current public health sector pays providers and other contractors on time.”

The MP felt that the government was unfair to “expect South Africans to put their lives in the hands of the same incompetent and corrupt cadres who cannot even process invoices.”

Public services still hold unpaid invoices

South African public services are struggling to execute their “most basic functions.” Two months ago, the national and provincial governments owed businesses R7.1 billion in unpaid invoices which were older than 30 days.

Since then, between April and June 2019, provincial governments added an additional R4.3 billion in debt to businesspeople and workers. Schreiber shared that the DA-run Western Cape was the exception.

The province only accounts for 0.01% of the outstanding debt. The political party accused the ANC of being “hellbent on collapsing the private sector.”

The ANC-led Gauteng and the Eastern Cape provinces were said to be refusing to pay around R1.5 billion and R1.8 billion respectively. The amounts were racked up in just three months.

The debt was just part of what the provinces still owed at the end of the last financial year.

DA proposes alternative for NHI

The DA has since called on the ANC to cancel its plans for nationalizing healthcare. The political party warned that NHI would become “Eskom for healthcare.”

Schreiber’s party urged for the adaptation of the DA’s Sizani Plan for Universal Healthcare. The political party explained how their plan would provide “universal coverage that is free at the point of care.”

Schreiber insisted:

“Instead of its NHI fantasies, the government should focus on getting the basics right by building a capable state that creates opportunities for citizens to prosper.”

 Leon Schreiber, DA member of parliament (MP) and Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration

The MP continued:

“We can only achieve this by eradicating cadre deployment, basing appointments on merit and skill, and giving the Public Service Commission much greater power to act against the officials suffocating the life out of our economy.”

 Leon Schreiber, DA member of parliament (MP) and Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration