Billions for NHI jobs leave gaping wounds in the system – Solidarity

Movement says Dept has already allocated approximately R5bn to scheme, regardless of Treasury funding

Billions for NHI jobs leave gaping wounds in the system

17 April 2024

Billions of rand in unforeseen expenses to pay employees of a non-existent National Health Insurance (NHI) is now on the cards for South Africa and South Africans.

Exactly what Solidarity warned against earlier has now been confirmed by Health Minister Joe Phaahla. In his written reply to a question from the DA, Phaahla says the Department of Health has already allocated approximately R5 billion to the NHI – even though only a little over R1 billion has been allocated to the NHI in terms of the national budget.

A large part of this almost R5 billion is indeed used to employ staff for the NHI – at salaries of more than R1 million per year. Apparently more than 28 people earning these sky-high salaries have already been appointed to NHI-specific positions.

Earlier this year, Solidarity brought a court application against the department because of the premature advertising of NHI jobs. The application was dismissed without costs.

According to Theuns du Buisson, economic researcher of the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI), money is now carelessly being thrown around for these jobs without even an existing budget for this.

“After all, there is a good chance that the NHI will never see the light of day, and Minister Phaahla knows this. Almost no one is in favour of the NHI, and the treasury has repeatedly indicated that there is no money for it.

“It was precisely to prevent such misappropriation of funds that Solidarity went to court earlier this year regarding these NHI jobs,” Du Buisson said.

Du Buisson is also convinced that this premature rollout of NHI plans will have negative consequences.
“The Department of Health is wasting billions that could have been used to provide and improve actual healthcare in the public sector. There is a pressing need for improvement.

“This is all taking place on account of a system that will not improve our country’s healthcare at all. The government simply does not have its citizens’ interests at heart, and this is just more proof of that,” he said.
He pointed out that a 2023 cost report on the NHI estimated that at least R660 billion would be needed in the budget for the system to be implemented.

Meanwhile, Solidarity continues to fight every section of the NHI through the courts, as well as with public pressure.

Issued by Theuns du Buisson, Economic Researcher: Solidarity Research Institute, 17 April 2024