NHI will transform historical injustices – NEHAWU

Union welcomes passing of bill by NA, says those who use scare-mongering putting profits before lives of people

NEHAWU welcomes the passing of the NHI Bill by National Assembly

14 June 2023

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] welcomes the adoption of the National Health Insurance [NHI] Bill by the National Assembly. The Bill now proceeds to the National Council of Province [NCOP] for debate and thereafter be sent to the President for his assent.

As NEHAWU, we fully support the full implementation of the NHI as it seeks to transform historical injustices and structural inequalities caused by the former apartheid state. We have noted recent scare-mongering articles and statements sponsored by elements in South African society that oppose Universal Health Coverage. These people prefer to put profits before the lives of our people. These are doomsayers, attempting to derail the full implementation of NHI before it has even being given breath. NEHAWU condemns this subterfuge and appeals to progressive political parties, parliamentarians and South African society at-large to dismiss false notions of a collapse of our healthcare system if NHI is implemented.

We re-emphasise our position on the NHI that if the South African health system is to overcome the challenges it is presently faced with, strengthened political support is needed so that financing can be restructured and the roles of both the public and private sector can be redefined. Access to quality healthcare is a right, not to be delayed any further by private sector interests whose only concern is profiting from our people. The NHI Bill has gone through extensive public consultations and scrutiny by the Portfolio Committee on Health.

The 2nd Presidential Health Summit saw the convergence of representatives from organised labour, community, business and Government all echo their support for the NHI Bill. The passing of the Bill by parliament marks a very critical turning point in South Africa’s healthcare industry. As NEHAWU, we once again appeal to all sections of our society to support this bill to put our people, especially the vulnerable and poor before profits and to make sure that this Bill paves the way towards Universal Health Coverage for all.

Issued by Lwazi Nkolonzi, National Spokesperson, NEHAWU, 14 June 2023