Ramaphosa: NHI may be a casualty of SA's COVID-19 crisis

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A "sombre" President Cyril Ramaphosa has indicated that the government might not be able to achieve everything it planned due to the pandemic, including its landmark policy to overhaul the crisis-plagued national health system, reports BusinessLIVE.

The report says, speaking the ANC national executive lekgotla — a biannual meeting to discuss the governing party’s priorities – Ramaphosa on Sunday acknowledged the depth of the crisis facing the country, promising to hold an economic summit to assess the damage caused by the pandemic as well as to speed up structural reforms, many of which have long been in the pipeline.

"While the pandemic has underscored the need for the National Healthcare Insurance (NHI), we must look at what impact it has had on our ability – whether from a capacity or fiscal position – proceed with the implementation of the NHI," Ramaphosa said. He said they needed to look at the implication of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nature, scale and pace of the implementation of the NHI.

BusinessLIVE reports that while the implementation of the NHI is already behind schedule and proceeding very slowly, this is the first time Ramaphosa has come close to acknowledging that the country is too ambitious in its timelines or that it may have to scale back on major social projects. Just last month health minister Zweli Mkhize was quoted as saying it was non-negotiable and the NHI must be implemented irrespective of the country’s economic situation.

 

Full BusinessLIVE report (Restricted access)

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