Parliament, Monday, 17 February 2020 – The Portfolio Committee on Health will from Friday, 21 February 2020, undertake the last leg of public hearings on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill in Soshanguve, Gauteng. The Gauteng hearings follow nationwide public hearings in which participants contributed to strengthening the Bill.

The NHI Bill is intended to achieve universal access to healthcare services in South Africa, which is a constitutional right. The NHI is a system for financing essential healthcare services to all South Africans, regardless of social standing. “The nationwide public hearings are testament to the importance of public participation in determining South Africa’s forward trajectory. The hearings have been valuable in assisting the committee in its deliberations and finalising of the Bill,” said Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, the committee Chairperson.

One of the issues raised by citizens during the hearings was dissatisfaction with medical aids, which charge high premiums but still only provide members with partial cover, which makes it difficult to access healthcare. “One of the more poignant moments [during the hearings] was a cancer patient with medical aid, who is now facing certain death because her medical aid is refusing to pay for a medication she needs to fight the cancer. This highlighted how the Bill will be a game changer [for everyone], not only people without medical aid,” Dr Dhlomo said.

While the hearings are in no way a referendum on the matter, the committee notes the enthusiasm of the majority of participants to speed up the roll-out of a NHI fund. The committee also notes community concerns regarding existing challenges with primary healthcare, including shortages in medical personnel and medication, long queues at clinics and dilapidated clinic infrastructure.

The committee has also committed to listen and actively consider all opinions shared during the hearings. While there was a majority support the hearings, the committee notes dissenting views, especially the concerns around corruption and uncertainty about funding the NHI. All these views will be considered when the committee deliberates on the Bill.

“I will be reflecting on these views when Parliament debates the President’s State of the Nations Address,” said Dr Dhlomo. The President announced in his SONA speech that government’s electronic Health Patients Registration System has already registered more than 44 million people at over 3 000 clinics. “The committee welcomes government initiatives to prepare for the implementation of the NHI,” Dr Dhlomo said.

Details of the hearings (Day 1)
Date: Friday, 21 February 2020
Venue: KT Motubatsi Sports Centre, Soshanguve
Time: 16:30 – 20:30

Details of the hearings (Day 2)
Date: Saturday, 22 February 2020
Venue: Chief Mogale City Hall, Kagiso
Time: 10:00- 15:00

Details of the hearings (Day 3)
Date: Sunday, 23 February 2020
Venue: Venue to be confirmed
Time: 10:00- 15:00

Details of the hearings (Day 4)
Date: Monday, 24 February 2020
Venue: Venue to be confirmed
Time: 16:30-20:00


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