Maimane challenges Ramaphosa to cancel his medical aid before signing NHI bill

Most opposition leaders say scheme won't work and is unaffordable

Bosa leader Mmusi Maimane speaks on the NHI bill.
Bosa leader Mmusi Maimane speaks on the NHI bill.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

Build One South Africa (Bosa) leader Mmusi Maimane has challenged President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet to cancel their private medical aid cover and use public hospitals before signing the National Health Insurance (NHI) bill into law.

Ramaphosa will sign the bill into law on Wednesday after five years of fierce debate since it was introduced to parliament in 2019. Though government promises the NHI will provide improved health coverage to all South Africans, its implementation has been met with opposition and scepticism.

“Before he signs the NHI bill I challenge the president, his family, the cabinet and their families to cancel their private medical aids and use public healthcare immediately. There must be no healthcare obtained overseas,” he said.

Maimane had no hopes the scheme would succeed in South Africa under ANC governance.

“The NHI as envisaged by the ANC is going to be devastating for this country. We will have profound skills flight and ultimately it will drain the fiscus. This is a R500bn investment. The government is heavily indebted, incapable of managing financial resources and has ultimately allowed the public healthcare sector to collapse,” he said.

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba expressed disappointment, saying Ramaphosa “ignored” pleas not to sign the bill.

“We urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to not sign it into law in December last year. The NHI will not fix South Africa’s broken healthcare system. Instead, it will worsen our healthcare crisis and open doors to more corruption,” he said.

DA leader John Steenhuisen threatened legal action against the government.

“The DA will immediately file a court challenge all the way to the Constitutional Court soon after President Cyril Ramaphosa signs the NHI bill into law,” he said.   

The legal battle underscores the DA's position that the NHI could undermine the quality of healthcare and potentially infringe on citizens' rights. 

Rise Mzansi's Songezo Zibi described the NHI as a “misleading solution” proposed by the ANC. He said real improvement in healthcare would come from ensuring public facilities are accessible and well-resourced.

“We must not allow the ANC to mislead us into thinking the NHI is a silver bullet, we need healthcare facilities that belong to South Africans.”

The signing of the NHI bill has brought to light deep-seated concerns about the future of healthcare in South Africa. Some argue that the NHI could lead to increased corruption, a decline in healthcare quality, and a misallocation of resources. 


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