South Africa’s health department will reprioritise its budget to make room for president Cyril Ramaphosa’s economic stimulus plan – and that means the National Health Insurance scheme will have to take a back seat.
This was the message from health minister Aaron Motsoaledi, speaking to journalists at an event held by the University of Stellenbosch Business School on Thursday, reports News24.
According to the minister, the department’s budget has been cut over the last few years, while the department has had to pay out more in subsidies.
Now, with the need to reprioritise the budget to make room for Ramaphosa’s economic stimulus plan, the department’s NHI spending plans have had to go “back to the drawing board”.
The minister said that money for the stimulus plan was not new money, and had to instead be taken from finances allocated to NHI projects – which now had to be delayed.
The health department would reprioritise money intended for NHI to recruit over 2,000 healthcare professionals and purchase beds and linen for hospitals in dire need, he said.
Motsoaledi said that he was warned as early as May 2018 that the reprioritisation order would come, and that the R4.1 billion allocated to NHI would, for now, be better spent keeping current services running.