Ramaphosa hits out at ‘rich people’ opposing health bill


South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended his plan to sign into law a contentious bill that aims at providing universal health coverage.

The National Health Insurance (NHI) bill seeks to give South Africans “of all races, rich or poor and legal long-term residents” access to quality healthcare. Its implementation would cost billions of dollars.

But it is facing widespread objection from the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), and medical unions vowing to take legal action against the bill, if signed into law.

Mr Ramaphosa said he would sign the bill into law on Wednesday whether people like it or not.

“The NHI is one of those focus areas which is going to help poor people and now the opposition on NHI is coming from the well-to-do rich people. This is what often happens, the-haves don’t want the have-nots to benefit from what they have been having,” the president added.

On Tuesday, the DA accused the president of using the bill as an electioneering tool just days before the polls.

But Mr Ramaphosa said that his government was not reckless and that the introduction of the NHI would not be done in a destructive manner.

Supporters of the bill hail it as a generational change that will reverse persistent inequality.


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