South Africa

AfriForum says doctor shortage will make NHI cost the taxpayers double

AfriForum Cyril Ramaphosa Joe Phaahla NHI Flickr.jpg.optimal

Civil rights organisation AfriForum has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Joe Phaahla requesting government reconsider the implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI).


Phaahla recently revealed that the country was in dire straits with a shocking ratio of 0.32 doctors per every 1 000 patients.

This prompted Kallie Kriel, AfriForum’s chief executive, to pen his letter on behalf of their 300 000 members and the public at large.

“This issue is central not only to the future of quality healthcare but also to the very existence of the country,” says Kriel.

According to trade union Solidarity, the implementation of the NHI Bill will cause a R112 billion budget deficit that will have to be covered by the state.


Kriel says AfriForum believes that NHI will be the final straw to break the taxpayers’ backs as South Africa’s current debt would not allow for loans to cover the deficit.

Solidarity believes the only way to fund NHI would be an income tax surcharge of 20%, VAT increase from 15% to 20%, a payroll tax of 5.5% or an increase in corporate income tax from 28% to 42%. The grimmer alternative is a combination of the increases.

“South Africa is already taxed higher compared to other countries in the same GDP bracket, and citizens must pay ‘double taxes’ for many privatised essential services,” says AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel.


Kriel says the well-documented failure of state-owned enterprises (SOE) and misuse of public funds inspire little confidence.

“Who is to say that the NHI will not be susceptible to the same scandals, the country’s entire health system would be at risk and the consequences could be unfathomably dire,”

says AfriForum’s chief executive.

Last year the South African Medical Association warned that 38% of its 12 000 members would leave the country if the NHI is implemented.

AfriForum says the healthcare system does require reform but their approach was different to the government’s “monopoly over healthcare”.

As a solution, AfriForum suggests the government should begin by solving the pre-existing governance issues in the public health sector. Additionally suggesting further expansion and stimulation of the private sector ensuring greater competition between medical aid providers, thus allowing the workings of the free market to drive down prices for purchasers.

READ MORE: ‘You can’t be punished for driving with an expired license card’ – AfriForum

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