Issued by Daniela Ellerbeck, on behalf of the FW de Klerk Foundation, on 15/05/2024


Shortly after 15h00 today, 15 May 2024, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the National Health Insurance Bill (now Act) into law. In what some may see as a last attempt to gain goodwill for the ANC, he assented to the highly controversial law just 14 days shy of the national election. 


What the NHI Act does:

The Act will create one public health fund for the health needs of the entire South African population. However, many have been extremely apprehensive that, rather than fulfil everyone’s right to healthcare access, the NHI Act will only crumble South Africa’s functioning private healthcare sector,” says Daniela Ellerbeck, Constitutional Programmes Manager at the FW de Klerk Foundation.


What now?

Section 80 of the Constitution gives Members of Parliament (“MPs”) the chance to directly approach the Constitutional Court within 30 days (from today) for an order declaring the NHI Act unconstitutional (or of no force until the Court has decided its constitutionality). The Constitution requires that the application be supported by at least a third of the National Assembly’s members.

The Foundation acknowledges that the national election is around the corner and campaigning is at an all-time high. Nonetheless, the Foundation urges the concerned MPs from different political parties to find each other, achieve the one-third minimum and approach the Constitutional Court. The alternative is that South Africa will face insurmountable financial, human resources and managerial deficiencies challenges that will cripple everyone’s right to healthcare access long after the 2024 election has passed.

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