NEWS & ANALYSIS

NHI: Misappropriation of funds - AfriForum

Organisation to lay charges against depts, says implementation of NHI in SA will be unconstitutional

NHI violates constitution: AfriForum will lay charges against health departments for misappropriation of R5,8 billion

18 November 2019 

During a media conference held today, AfriForum launched a comprehensive report on why the implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI) in South Africa will be unconstitutional. The report further explains why the impact study on which the NHI is based, is totally inadequate which means that the Bill should be set aside.

“According to the report, Section 27 of the Constitution only provides for access to healthcare. Nowhere does it indicate that the state is obliged to provide healthcare to everyone. In fact, if the government’s intervention hinders this access, it is unconstitutional. When one considers the current state of affairs in the department of health, the state most definitely doesn’t have the capacity to provide healthcare services to the whole country. It will therefore be unconstitutional for the state to effectively take control of the private health sector,” says Natasha Venter, AfriForum’s spokesperson for NHI.

The government puts the blame for the poor quality of state healthcare on the private healthcare sector and those with medical aid funds. “In reality, these people are being prejudiced by state interference and misappropriation. Their taxes are already being misused by the department of health and they are resented by government when they purchase private medical services at their own expense. Furthermore, it is largely the government’s fault – due to the overregulation of the sector – that private medical care is so expensive,” says Venter.

AfriForum therefore also announced its plan to visit all nine provinces during the coming week to lay criminal charges will against nine heads of the provincial departments of health in terms of Section 86 (1) of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act No. 1 of 1999).

These nine departments were all guilty of irregular, fruitless, wasteful and unauthorised expenditure, altogether wasting over R5,8 billion during the 2017/2018 financial year. This information was obtained from the annual reports of the departments.

The first charges were submitted directly after the media conference, against the head of the Gauteng department of health. According to its annual report this department misappropriated almost R1,4 billion in the 2017/2018 financial year.

“It’s clear that the government’s proposed NHI scheme is politically motivated and that it will not materially improve the health outcomes of the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. The misuse of taxpayers’ money is a national crisis. This scheme will only contribute to the crisis. It is time for taxpayers to put pressure on the National Prosecuting Authority to make examples of heads of departments who do not fulfil their duties as prescribed by the Act. They are some of the biggest culprits in the misuse of taxpayers’ money,” says Monique Taute, head of AfriForum’s Anti-corruption Unit.

The fact that the government recently established an anti-corruption forum for healthcare is indicative of the enormous extent of the corruption and misappropriation in the health department. “AfriForum hopes that this forum will act decisively in handling these charges, as well as the eradication of other corruption and fraud in this department,” Taute concludes.

The public can help put pressure on the NHI: SMS your name to 45344 (R1) or sign the charges on AfriForum’s website at www.stopkorrupsie.co.za.

AfriForum encourages the public to further oppose the NHI by giving AfriForum their mandate and submitting their comments on the NHI on AfriForum’s website at  https://www.afriforum.co.za/en/divisions/campaigns/national-health-insurance/.

Issued by Hesti Steenkamp, Media Relations Officer, AfriForum, 18 November 2019