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NHI latest: ANC criticised for “not being on the same page” with funding

Another issue that divides: Both Tito Mboweni and Zweli Mkhize are under fire for being “at variance with one another” over the controversial NHI bill.

 by Tom Head

 2019-08-26 17:34

in News


Minister of Finance Mr Tito Mboweni as he prepares to present his 2019 Budget Speech during the Plenary of the National Assembly , 20 February 2019. Parliament, Cape Town. Elmond Jiyane, GCIS

   

The rollout of National Health Insurance (NHI) is slowly approaching over the horizon. At the beginning of the month, the bill was tabled in Parliament. Last week, it secured a ringing endorsement from Cyril Ramaphosa. But not everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet in the ANC, according to some critics.

One of the most discerning voices on this matter is Siviwe Gwarube. The DA shadow health minister has kept a hawkish eye on developments regarding NHI, and sees the latest developments as another sign of disunity within the ANC.

DA lambast ANC over “NHI confusion”

It’s been reported that the National Treasury are compiling a funding report into NHI, to establish how much the project will cost. However, it’s not the “done thing” for a legislation to get forwarded to Parliament before the finances have been finalised. Gwarube believes this is a huge conflict of direction within the ruling party:

“What is now needed is clarity from the Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, about the work that has been done by Treasury and the Health Department, on the funding model for NHI. It is clear that South Africa cannot afford the implementation of NHI from a fiscal perspective and that it will do little to provide Universal Health Care for our people.”

“The DA has therefore written to Minister Mboweni to urgently request that he clarifies what Treasury’s position is in terms of the financing of this Bill. We are concerned that the Health Department published the Bill without proper consultation with National Treasury about the costs involved.”

Siviwe Gwarube

Are Zweli Mkhize and Tito Mboweni on the same page?

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has previously said that NHI is happening “no matter what the cost”. Which must be a lovely thing to say when you know it’s all going to come from the taxpayer. The current funding model is based on four separate methods of taxation.

Conservative estimates suggest that NHI will cost about R166 billion. But some researchers believe it will top R450 billion, as it has the potential to permanently remove private healthcare from South Africa. Add to this the idea that the proposed department would become another state-owned entity (SOE), and it’s a recipe for controversy.

Gwarube firmly believes that Mkhize and Mboweni are “at variance with one another”, and hopes that the letter will help poke more holes in an NHI bill that the DA vehemently oppose.