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Parliament, Tuesday, 12 June 2023 – The National Assembly (NA) has, during its plenary sitting this afternoon, passed the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill and the Land Court Bill.

NHI Bill seeks to provide for universal access to health care services in the country in accordance with the National Health Insurance White Paper and the Constitution of South Africa. The Bill envisages the establishment of a National Health Insurance Fund and sets out its powers, functions, and governance structures. The Fund will purchase health care services for all users who are registered with it.

The Bill will also create mechanisms for the equitable, effective, and efficient utilization of the resources of the fund to meet the health needs of users and preclude or limit undesirable, unethical and unlawful practices in relation to the Fund. It further seeks to address barriers to access.

The NHI Bill was initially tabled in Parliament and introduced to the Portfolio Committee on Health on the 8 August 2019 for processing. The Committee received its first briefing on the Bill from the Department of Health on 29 August 2019 and was subsequently briefed on the NHI pilot districts on 4 March 2020.

In facilitating effective public participation on the NHI Bill, the Committee conducted nationwide public hearings in all nine provinces, from 26 October 2019 to 24 February 2020. The public hearings were attended by 11 564 members of the public and various stakeholders across 33 district municipalities. A total of 961 oral submissions were heard by the Committee during these hearings.

The Committee also conducted virtual public hearings from 18 May 2021 to 23 February 2022. The virtual public hearings afforded an opportunity to stakeholders who had expressed interest to make oral presentations of their written submissions. In total, 114 stakeholders participated in the virtual public hearings including, among others, the professional associations, civil society organizations, medical aid schemes, faith-based organizations, academics, public health entities, hospital groups, labor unions, political organizations, and other interested stakeholders.

In addition to the provincial and virtual public hearings, the Committee received approximately 338 891 written submissions from the public. The Committee further consulted and sought extensive legal advice from Parliament’s Legal Unit and the State Law Advisors on the Bill.

The report of the committee was tabled in the NA today, and the Bill was passed by the House and will be sent to the NCOP for concurrence.

The National Assembly also passed the Land Court Bill which was before the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services. The Committee, having considered the proposed amendments of the National Council of Provinces, agreed to amendments without changes.

The Bill provides among other things, for the establishment of a Land Court and a Land Court of Appeal; to make provision for the administration and judicial functions of the Land Court and Land Court of Appeal; to make provision for budgetary matters; to provide for the exclusive jurisdiction of the Land Court and Land Court of Appeal for certain matters; to provide for mediation and arbitration procedures; to amend certain laws relating to the adjudication of land matters by other courts; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

The Bill will be sent to the President for assent.

Enquiries: Moloto Mothapo