South Africa is ready for NHI

Ramaphosa vows to fight against rot and state cap­ture


MORE than 44 mil­lion people have al­ready been reg­is­tered in the Elec­tronic Health Pa­tient Reg­is­tra­tion Sys­tem af­ter the col­lec­tion of pa­tient in­for­ma­tion from more than 3 000 clin­ics across the coun­try. Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa made these rev­e­la­tions dur­ing his State of the Na­tion Ad­dress (Sona) in Cape Town last night.

Ramaphosa said the fun­da­men­tal con­di­tion for growth and de­vel­op­ment was a healthy, pro­duc­tive pop­u­la­tion, with ac­cess to qual­ity, af­ford­able health care.

His gov­ern­ment had noted the en­thu­si­as­tic sup­port from South Africans dur­ing pub­lic hear­ings on the Na­tional Health In­surance (NHI) scheme and mech­a­nisms were be­ing put in place for its im­ple­men­ta­tion af­ter the par­lia­men­tary process was con­cluded, he said.

The pres­i­dent’s re­marks that the coun­try was ready for NHI came amid ob­jec­tions from Afrifo­rum. The civil rights or­gan­i­sa­tion this week asked for an urgent meet­ing with Health Min­is­ter Zweli Mkhize to high­light the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s ob­jec­tions and con­cerns re­gard­ing the NHI scheme.

Afrifo­rum said the im­ple­men­ta­tion of NHI “could lead to the down­grade of the coun­try’s in­vest­ment sta­tus to junk”.

Natasha Ven­ter, Afrifo­rum’s spokesper­son on NHI, said: “The De­part­ment of Health is year af­ter year one of the de­part­ments with the poor­est au­dits and the tax­payer can­not af­ford a tax in­crease to merely fund yet an­other gov­ern­ment policy (that is doomed to fail).”

Ramaphosa re­vealed that he had es­tab­lished the Pres­i­den­tial Work­ing Group on Dis­abil­ity to ad­vise his of­fice on mea­sures to ad­vance the em­pow­er­ment of people with dis­abil­i­ties.

Cor­rup­tion was an­other fo­cal point of the State of the Na­tion Ad­dress, with Ramaphosa vow­ing to launch a na­tional anti-cor­rup­tion strat­egy dur­ing the year.

“We will not let up in the fight against cor­rup­tion and state cap­ture,” he said, adding South Africa had to upgrade its cul­ture of re­port­ing acts of crime. He said the bat­tle could only be won if the en­tire coun­try was in­volved.

He said the Zondo Com­mis­sion of In­quiry into State Cap­ture had the full sup­port of the state. He promised to re­lease the report of the com­mis­sion of in­quiry into al­leged cor­rup­tion at the Pub­lic In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion.

He said the gov­ern­ment was work­ing on sta­bil­is­ing state-owned en­ti­ties (SOES) to re­pur­pose them to sup­port growth and de­vel­op­ment.

“Af­ter years of state cap­ture, cor­rup­tion and mis­man­age­ment, we are work­ing to en­sure that all SOES are able to ful­fil their de­vel­op­men­tal man­date ad be fi­nan­cially sus­tain­able.”

On land ex­pro­pri­a­tion, Ramaphosa said the gov­ern­ment was im­ple­ment­ing the key rec­om­men­da­tions of the pres­i­den­tial ad­vi­sory panel on land re­form and agri­cul­ture to ac­cel­er­ate land dis­tri­bu­tion, ex­pand agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion to trans­form the in­dus­try.

“Gov­ern­ment stands ready – fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of the par­lia­men­tary process to amend sec­tion 25 of the Con­sti­tu­tion – to table an ex­pro­pri­a­tion bill that out­lines the cir­cum­stances un­der which ex­pro­pri­a­tion of land with­out com­pen­sa­tion (will) be per­mis­si­ble.”

He said the gov­ern­ment had so far re­leased 44 000 hectares of state land for set­tle­ment of land resti­tu­tion claims and that this year it would re­lease about 70 000 hectares of state land for agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion.

He said a new ben­e­fi­ciary se­lec­tion policy in­cluded com­pul­sory training of po­ten­tial ben­e­fi­cia­ries be­fore land could be al­lo­cated to them.

On education, the pres­i­dent an­nounced that the gov­ern­ment was build­ing nine TVET col­leges. On the list were Grey­town, Msinga and Non­goma in Kwazulu-natal. A new Univer­sity of Sci­ence and In­no­va­tion would be es­tab­lished in Ekurhu­leni as it was the only metro in the coun­try with­out a univer­sity.

Ramaphosa also tack­led the is­sue of load shed­ding, say­ing it was an in­evitable con­se­quence of Eskom’s in­abil­ity over the years to ser­vice its power plants.

“The re­al­ity that we need to ac­cept is that for Eskom to un­der­take the fun­da­men­tal main­te­nance nec­es­sary to im­prove the re­li­a­bil­ity of sup­ply, load shed­ding will re­main a pos­si­bil­ity for the im­me­di­ate fu­ture.”

How­ever, he added: “Over the next few months, as Eskom works to re­store its op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­i­ties, we will be im­ple­ment­ing mea­sures that will fun­da­men­tally change the tra­jec­tory of en­ergy gen­er­a­tion in our coun­try.”

He said an in­te­grated re­source plan en­abling the de­vel­op­ment of ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity from re­new­able en­ergy, nat­u­ral gas, hy­dro power, bat­tery stor­age and coal would be put into ef­fect.

“We will ini­ti­ate the pro­cure­ment of emergency power from projects that can de­liver elec­tric­ity into the grid within three to 12 months from ap­proval.”

The gov­ern­ment would ne­go­ti­ate power pur­chase agree­ments to ac­quire ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity from ex­ist­ing wind and so­lar plants.

Mea­sures would be put in place to en­able mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to pro­cure their own power from in­de­pen­dent power pro­duc­ers.

| PHANDO JIKELO African News Agency (ANA)

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa de­liv­ered his State of the Na­tion Ad­dress last night af­ter dis­rup­tions by the EFF as they de­manded for­mer pres­i­dent FW de Klerk leave Par­lia­ment.

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