DA presents submissions on flawed NHI Bill

The DA today presented the Party’s official submission on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill before the parliamentary portfolio committee on health.

The DA’s full presentation can be accessed here.

It is the DA’s view that, in accordance with the global move towards Universal Health Care, South Africa must reform its health system to provide access to quality healthcare for all.

The NHI Bill, however, is the very antithesis of that goal. The Bill will not reach its intended objectives and is not compliant with key constitutional principles or rights.

Constitutional challenges:

  • The Bill has massive financial consequences but has not been tagged as a money Bill.
  • The exclusion of asylum seekers from enjoying the right to universal access to quality health care services, as purported to achieve by this Bill, undermines Section 27 of the Constitution which states that “everyone” has the right to access health care.
  • The documents required to register for the Fund will bar many South Africans from accessing it, essentially excluding them from health care.
  • The Bill undermines the separation of powers and provincial authorities by giving unvetted powers to the Health Minister.
  • The NHI Bill completely removes the choice for South Africans to choose where to get their healthcare and could effectively outlaw medical aides.
  • This Bill does not merely limit these freedoms, but in many respects takes them away.

Other key areas of concern:

  • It is unclear which medical services and medications will be covered or excluded under the NHI system.
  • The Bill will see the creation of an NHI Fund which will operate as a public entity that will be constituted by the pooling of funds both from the public and private sectors, effectively creating another SOE that will be vulnerable to mismanagement and corruption.
  • The NHI compels users of the Fund to adhere to referral pathways as prescribed and will forfeit health care services purchased by the Fund if they fail to these prescribed pathways.
  • The Bill imposes conditions on which treatment can be refused, and obtaining a second opinion or seeking alternative forms of treatment will be nearly impossible.
  • The Bill states that a healthcare provider must adhere to “treatment protocols and guidelines, including prescribing medicines and procuring health products from the Formulary”. This creates ethical concerns in what and how healthcare providers can treat patients.
  • The health system will be fragmented where certain spheres will either be under local, provincial or national government management.
  • The Bill allows for the CEO of the NHI Fund to establish an Investigating Unit within the Office of the Fund. Meaning that there will be no independent checks and balances.
  • The documents required to register for the Fund will bar many South Africans from accessing it, essentially excluding them from health care.
  • The funding of the NHI through tax will not only overburden the rapidly shrinking tax base, but will lead to increased cost of living that will impact everyone, including the poorest of the poor.
  • The current accountability measures monitoring the spending of tax is insufficient. This might enable corruption.
  • Treasury has stated quite clearly that the NHI is unaffordable.
  • The limitation of options for private practitioners might lead to a brain drain of critical skills. The shortage of medical professionals is also of grave concern.
  • The political climate under which the Bill was conceived differs vastly from the current one. At the very least, a reassessment must be done.

The DA believes in universal healthcare, but the proposed NHI Bill will only further decimate the public healthcare system. Instead of centralising healthcare and limiting the private sector, the strengths of the private sector should be leveraged to improve public health through partnerships. More effort should also be made to make the regional management model work.

The DA has already put forward its alternative to the NHI Bill. The Party’s Sizani universal Healthcare Plan is based around a universal subsidy for every eligible person in South Africa, allowing them to choose whether to buy private or public sector coverage with their subsidy.

Aspects of this proposal are already implemented in the Western Cape with great success. The province’s mortality rates are half of other provinces, hospitals and clinics are better maintained, and the Western Cape have more specialists per capita than any other province.

Government’s failure to handle the Covid-19 pandemic shows that they would be unable to fully implement, manage and maintain a centralized healthcare system. The pandemic has also shown that corrupt individuals care little whether funding is earmarked for healthcare.

Government condones Russian aggression in East Ukraine by being silent

Please find an a attached soundbite by Darren Bergman MP

The DA condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine under the guise of keeping peace, security and stability.

Latest reports indicate that Russia has stationed tens of thousands of troops at the Ukrainian border, an act of military aggression that might start a major armed conflict.

The DA is appalled by the ongoing silence from the ANC government on the tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

In a reply to a DA parliamentary question received today, regarding the government’s approach to the situation, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, chose to wax poetic on South Africa’s “Diplomacy of Ubuntu” instead of condemning the Russian aggression towards Ukraine.

The continued silence by the South African government on this matter can only be viewed as the ANC condoning and enabling the Russian aggression in the East of Ukraine.

A price of a full-scale war in Ukraine would be too high a price to pay – not only for Europe but for the rest of the world. The ANC government, therefore, cannot continue to hide behind past loyalties, it must use its place at the table to enter diplomatic waters deliberately and decisively.

Lifestyle audit failure: More proof that Ramaphosa’s cabinet must go

Please find attached English soundbite from the Leader of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen MP. 

President Ramaphosa’s failure to make good on his much-promised but never-delivered commitment to lifestyle audits for cabinet ministers is yet more evidence that his cabinet must go.

I will be submitting questions to the president, to establish exactly why he has failed to make good on this long-standing promise to the nation.

Should the DA’s motion of no confidence in his cabinet pass, it will at least set the clock back to day one, and he can deliver lifestyle audits on his new and hopefully much improved cabinet.

If he and his cabinet did not fear the prospect of independent lifestyle audits for cabinet ministers, the process would have been completed long ago, as it has been in the DA-run Western Cape.

It is now four full years since Ramaphosa first promised lifestyle audits for cabinet members, in his State of the Nation Address in February 2018. “This is something we have to do, starting with the executive of the country,” he said.

On 31 August 2020, Ramaphosa again pledged to conduct lifestyle audits of all ANC leaders and public representatives.

In November 2020, the Presidency committed to completing lifestyle audits for cabinet ministers by March 2021. A year later, and nothing has happened.

Yet yesterday, public service and administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo admitted that no progress has been made on lifestyle audits for ministers, claiming that these are less urgent than for directors.

Let’s be clear. Cabinet ministers must be first in line for lifestyle audits. The fish rots from the head.

Let’s also be clear about why Ramaphosa has failed to fulfil his promise to the nation. He can’t afford to push them through, as that would mean exposing the corruption in his own cabinet. This he cannot and will not do, because for him, ANC unity takes priority over the wellbeing of the nation and people’s dire need for an honest cabinet that gets things done for them.

Alternatively, his own cabinet has simply ignored his multiple directives or failed to deliver on his promises.

Contrast this with the DA-run Western Cape, where DA premier Alan Winde promised independent lifestyle audits and delivered them, completed, nine months later.

This is the DA difference. The DA spends public money to get things done for people, whilst the ANC national government is failing dismally to deliver on its most basic responsibilities.

Life in South Africa will not improve while this rag-tag mob of crooks and free-loaders is running the country. They must go.

Netball SA dodges Parliament at the last minute

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Veronica van Dyk MP.

The DA has written to the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on sports, arts and culture, Beauty Dlulane, to request that a new date be set for the Netball SA board to account to Parliament as a matter of urgency.

This after the committee was informed, less than two hours before the meeting was set to take place, that the Netball SA president, Cecilia Molokwane, and Netball SA CEO, Blanche de la Guerre, are unable to attend due to previous commitments despite the fact that they have known the date of today’s meeting since January.

The DA also requested that the committee invite the extended executive committee to join in the meeting with Netball SA.

It seems like the Netball SA president and CEO are trying to dodge accountability regarding the complete shambles the federation seems to be in. Reports from whistleblowers, as well as the former vice-president, Christine du Preez, indicate an increasing toxic work environment where accountability is shrugged and the federation’s own constitution seems to be regularly violated.

With the 2023 Netball World Cup set to take place in Cape Town, the federation cannot hide behind lame excuses and poor planning to avoid meeting with the committee. Their lack of communication and planning may have a severe impact on South Africa’s global image, and the organization must be closely monitored.

Serious questions regarding the safety of players during the world cup also needs to be answered, as Netball SA seems to have shown an alarming lack of concern for allegations of sexual abuse in the sport. The federation’s safeguarding policies are not even displayed on its website, and there seems to be little appetite to enforce it.

Netball SA needs to account as a matter of urgency, and no excuses must be accepted for failure to appear before the committee.

Budgeting for Jobs – Accelerating growth and fighting poverty

The following statement was delivered by the DA Shadow Minister of Finance, Dr Dion George MP, during a press conference on the DA’s expectations ahead of the Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana’s 2022 Budget Speech on Wednesday. Dr George was joined by DA Member of the Appropriations Committee, Ashor Sarupen MP.

Please find attached the full preview document here.

The DA’s alternative Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in October 2021, proposed a fiscal policy platform for a post-pandemic economic resilience that would enable prudent fiscal management, unlock economic growth, disrupt high levels of unemployment and alleviate the disproportionate impact of rising inflationary pressures on the poor.

The policy imperatives of these key deliverables have not changed and provide the framework for the DA’s Alternative Budget for 2022.

Achieving economic growth that generates jobs, especially after the devastating effects of a global pandemic, will test the mettle of our collective national resolve. It is a challenge that we have to confront head on, if we are to address the staggering levels of unemployment and increasing poverty among vulnerable groups in our country.

The DA’s 2022 Alternative Budget presents how a DA government will:

      • Reverse the upward debt spiral by containing debt and managing expenditure.
      • Attract investment capital and encourage savings to accelerate economic growth.
      • Stimulate economic growth enablers by ensuring energy and water security, attracting retired educators back into the system and reforming State Owned Enterprises for private investment.
      • Fight corruption by making an exception to our commitment to no new taxes or tax increases, by imposing a punitive Corruption Tax.
      • Protect vulnerable South Africans by introducing a conditional Basic Income Grant, supporting small, medium and micro business enterprises in particular and leveraging pension fund assets to the benefit of fund members.

The DA continues to emphasize the importance of faster economic growth to address staggering levels of unemployment, unsustainably high public debt and growing poverty levels. To unlock the growth dividend, our economy should be opened up to more private investment and innovation.

Debt warning alarm for South Africa

For the first time since South Africa’s democratic transition, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have extended emergency loans to our country with a combined total of R76 billion. Although Treasury has tried to justify the loans as concessionary with low interest rates, and necessary to stave off the socio-economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the reality is that government is unable to meet its spending obligations from the fiscal balance sheet and has now been forced to borrow from international finance institutions.

Failure to take the necessary steps now to address the growing national debt crisis, restore economic growth and the conditions necessary to create jobs, will push South Africa further into the debt embrace of the IMF and World Bank, this time for loans with more onerous conditions.

The DA will re-introduce the Fiscal Responsibility Bill to bring national debt under control and introduce a statutory fiscal rule for the first time.

Through targeted spending cuts and savings, the DA’s debt containment model shows that national debt can be brought under control sooner, and at a lower rate, than the ANC government’s stated objective.

Accelerate Economic Growth

In order to move beyond the lethargic growth rate of the past decade and unlock growth levels that will open up opportunities for economic participation among South Africans, the DA proposes to attract investment and encourage savings through:

      • Reducing regulation and oversight levies for the financial sector;
      • Raising the threshold on taxes on interest earned to R500 000;
      • Tax relief on rental income for individual taxpayers;
      • Increase annual tax free savings limit to R100 000;
      • Scrap remaining exchange controls;
      • Cut tax on fuel.

The DA believes that part of the intervention needed to improve South Africa’s fixed income investment indicator is through investment relief. Companies that, for example, invest between R10 billion and R12 billion in our economy should be given time bound tax breaks. These tax breaks should also be accompanied by practical interventions to provide policy certainty and economic structural reform.

For investment capital to flow, the investment climate must be attractive, barriers to doing business must be lowered and individual saving must be encouraged.

To fund the tax cuts contained in the DA alternative budget, we propose the following:

      • Procurement – prices paid by government departments must be open to public scrutiny and checked against what is readily available at retail and wholesale level.
      • Reward budget savings – Use it or lose it is a perverse incentive that results in unnecessary wasteful expenditure. Budget savings should be rewarded where appropriate.
      • Expenditure efficiency benchmarks – Expenditure efficiency benchmarks should be used to improve departmental performance.
      • Department relevancy tests or assessment – there are some departments that can be scrapped resulting in budget savings. The DA has previously argued that 15 core departments are enough to meet the administrative and governance needs of South Africa.

Real action on corruption

The DA will soon be introducing a Private Members Bill in Parliament to initiate a Corruption Tax. The private members bill will amend the Tax Administration Act and introduce provisions that will require that any company or organization implicated in corruption pay an additional percentage of company tax above the country’s corporate tax rate.

Economic enablers


While the DA welcomes the announcement made by the President in his State of the Nation address to establish an electricity transmission company, we are opposed to the idea that it be made a state controlled Eskom subsidiary.

What South Africa needs is an Independent Transmission Grid System and Market Operator (ITSMO) which will be responsible for system operation and the purchase of electricity from electricity generators.

Water Security

In order to improve water quality infrastructure and reverse the existing backlog in infrastructure maintenance, there is an urgent need to:

      • Progressively increase public investment in water infrastructure as a percentage of GDP.
      • Ensure that a Treasury-determined percentage of government grants to municipalities is spent on operational expenditure to manage existing infrastructure, especially the outdated water reticulation systems.
      • Open the water sector to private sector investment by allowing municipalities in good financial standing to enter into public-private partnerships for infrastructure investment. 

Attract retired teachers 

As part of interventions to recover the learning and teaching-time lost, and to address the high vacancy rate in the education sector, the DA proposes that government hires retired educators to fill the gap. The DA sets an initial investment of R3 billion to fund this initiative.

Readying SOEs for private investment 

The President’s announcement that preparatory work has begun for the establishment of a state-owned holding company to house all commercial SOEs was not only ill-informed but does nothing to solve the current systemic challenges affecting these entities.

Instead of creating a new SOE to manage bankrupt SOEs, the government should be readying them for private sector investment.

Only a systematic programme of private sector participation will remove SOEs from being a burden on the fiscus and make them competitive on the market.

Support for vulnerable South Africans 

The poor and vulnerable continue to shoulder most of the economic burden from the disruption caused by Covid-19 and lack of growth in our economy. As such, Government spending on direct cash support for the poor should be protected from cuts. With the savings realised from the DA’s targeted spending cuts and savings, the DA commits to protecting inflationary increases in social grants. This would entail social grant increases in excess of R30 billion over three years. 

Basic Income Grant 

The DA has been a longstanding supporter of the idea of income support for the unemployed. Our view is that a Basic Income Grant would provide an economic floor for the most vulnerable as well as put money directly in the hands of the people who are best placed to decide where to spend it. The market makes better allocative decisions than the government. However, we are concerned that the country simply cannot afford to support a growing number of dependents in an environment of low growth and a shrinking revenue base. It would seem therefore, that a Basic Income Grant would become increasingly feasible as an expenditure from the proceeds of growth, as opposed to increased taxes.

As economic growth is realised, a Basic Income Grant would become affordable. The DA has budgeted an additional R105 billion over the next three years for the introduction of a conditional Basic Income Grant. The grant would be made available on the understanding that it would only be provided when revenue generated from GDP growth is available. It would not be funded from additional tax. 

Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises support 

To unlock the growth dividend through Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), the DA proposes the following:

      • Expansion of tax free savings especially into SMME companies by allowing more types of products into tax free accounts.
      • Better targeted tax incentives into venture capital and early stage companies.
      • Tax relief or tax holidays for startups and SMMEs – this also includes employees of the startup so that necessary skills are more affordable as part of the business set up costs.
      • Full BEE scorecard exemptions for start-ups – Upgrading the contribution level to level 1 from level 4 for exempt SMMEs (assuming BEE legislation is retained at all, given that the DA does not support this legislation).
      • Raise the threshold for what is classified as a (a) microenterprise: 50 million turnover (b) Small enterprise: R500 million turnover and (c) Medium enterprise: R2bn turnover.
      • Comprehensive regulatory relief for start-ups.

Leveraging Pension Fund Assets 

A significant amount of investment capital is owned by Pension Fund members. To fund its developmental state model, Government aims to encourage funds to invest members’ money in infrastructure projects in the hope that this will create jobs.

Pension Fund members should be permitted to leverage their pension fund assets as collateral for a pension-backed loan and be able to access a portion of their pension fund before retirement. This two-tier system will enable a balance between current and future consumption to the benefit of hard working South Africans.


The DA is fully aware that economic reform cannot occur overnight. After decades of policy incoherence, economic damage caused by failed B-BBEE interventions, public financial mismanagement and high levels of corruption, an economic turnaround will require time and effort.  A pathway to prosperity for all South Africans is possible.

President sings to DA’s tune on small businesses

President Cyril Ramaphosa used his State of the Nation Address (SONA) to announce a new red tape strategy to ease the doing of business – a page right out of the DA’s suite of solutions.

The DA has strived to reduce red tape regarding businesses since the 5th parliament, and has always been thwarted by members of the ruling party.

First, we introduced the Red Tape Impact Assessment Bill in April 2016. While ANC committee members agreed not to reject the Bill in principle, they were of the opinion that the Department of Small Business Development was not the appropriate department to handle this Bill.

In March 2020, the DA tabled another private members bill, the Ease of Doing Business Bill. This time, however, the ANC members in the parliamentary portfolio committee of public administration dismissed the plan to establish a red tape unit in the President’s office, and voted against the Bill.

Then, out of the blue, the President announced the establishment of a red-tape unit in his office during his SONA speech. An idea he presented as his own, but one clearly born from the DA-playbook.

It’s obvious that the President thought the Bill tabled by the DA in 2020 was an excellent idea and based on sound principles. Hence, the copy and paste exercise in his speech and reply on the debate.

The DA will monitor the implementation of this unit to ensure it’s not another empty promise. We will also continue to drive the Ease of Doing business for small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) because we care for small businesses. We want them to prosper and create jobs.

Alexkor’s acting GM raises red flags

Note to Editors: Please find attached English soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP, as well as English and Afrikaans soundbites by Veronica van Dyk MP.

The DA will write to the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, to request further information regarding the appointment of Ms Leilani Swartbooi as the acting General Manager (GM) of Alexkor Richtersveld Mining Company Pooling and Sharing Joint Venture (PSJV).

Clarity is needed on whether the proper procedures for her appointment were followed.

Ms Swartbooi, who has previously served as the Environmental Manager at Alexkor RMC PSJV, is serving as the acting GM while the current GM, Deon Bowers, is away for an indefinite period of time and for reasons unknown.

Her appointment has raised eyebrows as it was reportedly under Ms Swartbooi’s watch that the controversial cofferdams, which caused extensive environmental damage along the Northern Cape coast, were built. The building of these dams are now being criminally investigated.

Ms Swartbooi’s alleged involvement with the cofferdams certainly does not engender the trust of the communities who were meant to benefit from their partnership with Alexkor to mine diamonds along the coast. Instead, they have found themselves at the short end of the stick. It seems like environmental regulations and welfare were flouted and communities exploited to enrich the few well-connected.

Minister Gordhan must, therefore, provide immediate feedback on the rationale behind Ms Swartbooi’s promotion to acting GM, when her track record is marred in controversy.

Days after SONA, Ramaphosa betrays private sector with R450 million salary increase for millionaire cadres

Please find attached soundbite by Dr Leon Schreiber MP.

The decision by the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ayanda Dlodlo, to award a R450 million salary increase for millionaire managers in the Public Service is an insult to the private sector and the more than 10 million unemployed South Africans. This latest salary increase, following a R30 billion salary increase for lower levels of the public service last year, deals the death blow to years of empty promises by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government that it would freeze the public sector wage bill to avert a full-blown debt crisis.

Just days after telling South Africans that “it is the private sector, rather than the government, that creates jobs,” Ramaphosa’s administration has taken R450 million in taxpayer money out of the pockets of the private sector and handed it over to the very millionaire cadres who ran both the State and economy into the ground. Even with unemployment at its highest ever rate of 46%, and after two years of lockdowns that destroyed millions of livelihoods, Ramaphosa’s government continues to place its political interests ahead of the needs of the country by spending R450 million in taxpayer money to buy support for the upcoming ANC elective congress from ANC cadres “deployed” into senior management service (SMS) positions.

This unaffordable increase entails a monthly pensionable cash allowance of R1 695 for salary levels 13 to 15, R1 818 for salary level 16, and a salary increase of 1.5% for levels 13 to 16 – all backdated to April 2021.

The salary increase paid to the 712 highest paid millionaire managers (level 16) in the public service and backdated to April 2021 will cost South Africans over R38 million. This amounts to a pay-out of over R53 000 per person to the highest paid cadres in the state. In total, the 11 305 highest paid cadres in the ANC-captured state will take R450 million out of the pockets of the people, who will undoubtedly be forced to pay for it through higher taxes.

These calculations are based on a parliamentary reply on salary distribution in the public service that the DA received in October 2021, with the breakdown as follows:

Salary band  Number of Employees  Cost of non-pensionable cash allowance (backdated 12 months)  Cost of 1.5% salary adjustment (Backdated 12 months)  Total 
13 7660 R155 804 400 R 132 656 385 R288 460 785
14 2405 R48 917 700 R50 147 295 R99 064 995
15 528 R10 736 280 R13 181 370 R23 917 650
16 712 R15 532 992 R22 499 160 R38 032 152
TOTAL  R449 475 582 


As recently as December 2020, the Labour Court noted that further salary increases would not be just and equitable because it would “expend significant and scarce financial resources on employees whose jobs are already secured and salaries have been paid in full, particularly in circumstances where the imperative exists for the recovery of the economy to the benefit of millions of vulnerable people.”

After two years of further lockdown and corruption devastation, this rings even more true today than it did in December 2020. And in the wake of his undertaking in SONA to put the private sector first, this is a grave betrayal of South Africa’s hardworking private sector workers and job creators.

In response, the DA will submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to ascertain whether all legal requirements were met before this outrageous increase was announced.

Crime stats: Cele’s head must roll

Bheki Cele

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Okkie Terblanche MP.

The latest crime statistics are further evidence in a long list of incidents of incompetence that justify why the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, must be fired

Shocking statistics recorded by the South African Police Service (SAPS) for the third quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year reveal an 8.9% increase in murder and a 3.5% increase in attempted murder when compared to the previous year. Alarmingly, there was an 11.3% increase in murder from the second quarter of 2021/22 to now.

This means that almost 75 people were murdered every day in the third quarter.

Attempted murder also increased from the second to third quarter by 9.46%.

None of this bodes well for South Africans who continue to become ever more vulnerable.

While Minister Cele and National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole continue to clash, women and children remain under siege. The murder rate against women increased by 4.2% year on year and attempted murder by 7.2%. The murder rate against children increased by 22.6% quarter to quarter. Attempted murder of children increased 30% year on year and 39.2% quarter on quarter.

From October to December 2021, 11 315 rapes were reported, while 902 women were murdered, 1 204 were nearly killed, and 15 692 were assaulted. That same period saw 352 child murders, 394 attempted murders, and 2 048 children were assaulted.

The irrational solution from the Minister? Putting fewer boots on the ground. The latest available police to population ratio from the 2020/21 annual report states that there is only one police officer for every 413 civilians. The ratio has dropped year by year from 1:358 in 2014/15 to 1:375 in 2017/18 and there seems to be no political will to stop this worrying trend.

In fact, the police budget is set to be cut by R11 billion over the next three years. While SAPS and South Africans suffer, criminals thrive.

The crime stats released today again reinforces the urgency of the motion of no confidence DA Leader, John Steenhuisen, tabled against the cabinet earlier this week. Minister Cele and his colleagues in the Executive are incapable and incompetent to run an effective government.

As the July unrests have clearly shown, for all his bluster, Minister Cele has no bite. He is unwilling and more importantly, unable to turn SAPS around. His impotency has cost South Africans their lives and allowed crime to flourish.

The DA has no confidence in Minister Cele. South Africans have lost all confidence in him. It is time for President Cyril Ramaphosa to cut this dead wood from his cabinet.