Parliament, Tuesday, 3 December 2019 – The Portfolio Committee on Health has concluded the nationwide public hearings on the National Insurance (NHI) Bill in the Eastern Cape.

The Buffalo City’s King William’s Town hosted the last leg of the hearings in the province where the majority views presented underlined the importance of NHI in achieving universal healthcare coverage as per the World Health Organisation’s Alma Ata declaration of 1978.

The Chairperson of the committee, Dr Sibogniseni Dhlomo, said the quality of inputs made by the residents of the Eastern Cape has enriched the committee and would certainly help during the deliberation phase of the committee. “Personally, I have been greatly enriched by the contributions made by residents of the Eastern Cape and their deep understanding of the NHI from their perspective of healthcare in a rural setting,” Dr Dhlomo said.

The overwhelming majority of participants in King William’s Town highlighted the critical role of primary healthcare in ensuring the principles of equity and access which can be provided by clinics that are located closely to the people. “The majority view was that there is more that is needed to be done to resolve the problems of access and capacitation of clinics and hospitals especially in a rural setting,” added Dr Dhlomo.

Similar to sentiments that were expressed in Mthatha, Queenstown and Port Elizabeth, the majority of oral submissions presented highlighted that some clinics are without nurses or they are overcrowded by patients, lack of medicines and dilapidated infrastructure, these are problems that were mentioned in other provinces.

Some of the inputs made emphasised that NHI was welcomed primarily because it will be a single purchaser of healthcare services which will standardise the cost of healthcare and enable equal access especially for the poor through the creation of a single healthcare system.

Also, there was a view that because healthcare is a human right, everyone should have access to it and that this right should not depend on a person’s financial status.

Furthermore, some of the participants expressed a view that the variety of boards that will be created through NHI will create an opportunity for public participation in the planning and implementation of the NHI and it is in this context that some called for boards that are transformed and representative.

Dr Dhlomo appreciated the contributions he described as incisive, that were made by the people in all the districts of the Eastern Cape, notwithstanding the fact that the hearings were conducted at night and during weekends.

The committee will conclude the public hearings in the remaining last four provinces, Gauteng, Free State, North West and Western Cape in late January to early February next 2020.


Audio clip of the Chairperson of the Committee, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo can be found here:

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

Name: Malatswa Molepo (Mr)
Parliamentary Communication Services
Tel: 021 403 8438
Cell: 081 512 7920