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Parliament, Sunday, 3 November 2019 – The Portfolio Committee on Health went ahead with the public hearings on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill yesterday in De Aar in the Northern Cape in spite of the poor turnout. The few people who attended were afforded an opportunity to submit their oral submissions on the Bill.

The Chairperson of the committee, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said: “We are aware that this day has many things, our national rugby team, the Springboks, is representing our country in the Rugby World Cup final which will be followed by the soccer Telkom Knockout finals in Durban.”

Dr Dhlomo thanked members of the public who attended the hearings.

The poor state of health facilities in De Aar was mentioned by most residents in their oral submissions. They told the committee that they hoped that the NHI will improve the provision of healthcare services in De Aar. They used the opportunity of the hearings to tell the committee about the shortage of staff and water in the newly built hospital in De Aar.

Speakers, one after another during the hearings, told the committee that there are few clinics in their municipality, they travel very long distances to reach health facilities and wait very long hours for medical services. They urged the committee to ensure that the Bill addresses the poor standard of health facilities in their communities and the shortage of health workers at public hospitals.

Traditional Leaders from the Noupoort area who complained about being not recognised in their community told the committee that the people who require medical assistance in Noupoort are often sent as far as Kimberly as there are no adequate medical services in Noupoort.

The people thanked the committee for reaching them and explain the Bill and its aims of turning the health care system even in impoverished communities such as Brits Town where they said, there is only one ambulance in operation. They also told the committee that many people in Brits Town are unable to apply for the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) grant as the application also requires a medical report which is not easily obtainable in Brits Town.

Dr Dhlomo thanked the people of De Aar for their participation in the public hearings and their oral submissions which he described as valuable. He told the people that the committee will call upon the Department of Health to address the challenges that were highlighted by the people in their oral submissions.

The objective of the Bill is to achieve universal access to quality healthcare services in South Africa in accordance with section 27 of the Constitution; to establish a National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and to set out its powers, functions and governance structures; and to provide a framework for the strategic purchasing of healthcare services by the fund on behalf of users.

The committee moves to the Dawid Kruiper Local Municipality in Upington today.

ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, DR SIBONGISENI DHLOMO.

For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the committee’s Media Officer:

Name: Felicia Lombard (Ms)
Parliamentary Communication Services
Tel: 021 403 8285
Cell: 081 548 7011
E-mail: flombard@parliament.gov.za