Following publication last week of the Digital Vibes report, the acting director general of health, Nicholas Crisp, was asked whether that scandal had damaged the government’s plans for National Health Insurance (NHI).
“It doesn’t deter us from the solution,” Dr Crisp was reported as having replied. “It may impact on the debate in parliament and may influence how they may want to reformulate what is in the [NHI] bill. But from an implementation perspective, we think it is still a good idea and the best way to get services to people.”
Anyone who has any understanding of the African National Congress (ANC) knows that Dr Crisp is wrong in claiming that NHI is the best way of getting services to people. Unfortunately, he is undoubtedly correct in stating that the ANC will press ahead anyway.
This is a threat, but also an opportunity. Ever since the ANC mooted its establishment, various groups and individuals have subjected NHI to scrutiny and opposition on a range of different grounds.
The report of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into the Digital Vibes affair can now be exploited to mobilise even more opposition to the NHI by repeatedly warning the public that it will also be plagued by “gross misconduct, dereliction of duty, and negligence”, along with “irregular, fruitless, and wasteful expenditure”, and even “fraud”.
This is now the standard package that comes with the ANC, along with cadre deployment, racial quotas, nepotism, and corruption. A few people might be prosecuted, but there is no reason to believe that the ANC’s modus operandi will change in any fundamental way.