Alpha Ramushwana16 May 2024 | 6:49

Phaahla says unfazed by threats to challenge NHI Act

The legislation, signed into law on Wednesday, has continued to face criticism from public healthcare sector opponents and political parties such as the DA, which announced plans to challenge it in court.

Phaahla says unfazed by threats to challenge NHI Act

FILE: Health Minister Joe Phaahla. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Health Joe Phaahla says he’s not fazed by threats to challenge the National Health Insurance (NHI) Act.

The NHI Bill was finally signed into law on Wednesday, and continues to face scrutiny by political parties and opponents in the public healthcare sector.


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The Democratic Alliance (DA) is among the organisations that announced plans to challenge the NHI in court.

While the African National Congress (ANC)-led government believes the NHI will ensure quality healthcare services to all South Africans, the DA’s chief whip Siviwe Gwarube says this is all a fallacy.

“The kind of poor healthcare services that we are seeing in South Africa are only going to worsen and we will be making that case in our court papers.”

Amid criticism, Phaahla insisted the enactment of the NHI was not rushed.

He further rubbished claims that government was incapable of implementing the legislation.

“We are in a democratic country and the courts are part of our democracy. So, we must be ready to go and present our case.”

The NHI Act is set to be implemented in two phases between now and 2028.

National Health Insurance Deputy Director General Nicholas Crisp echoed Phaahla's view, saying there is nothing unconstitutional about the NHI Act.
Crisp said the department received legal advice before putting in place the insurance.

And with at least six court challenges looming, Crisp said they were not shocked.

"The courts will have the final say. So I suspect we will be taken to court. It will be adjudicated in the general court or the Constitutional Court then we will have finality. But I think that's fine. That's the nature of democracy and we are quite happy to welcome it."