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Fact Check — Will everyone have access to private healthcare after 29 May if ANC wins?

Fact Check — Will everyone have access to private healthcare after 29 May if ANC wins?
Illustrative image | ANC Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi. (Photo: Gallo Images / OJ Koloti)

If the ANC wins the vote, will South Africans will be able to get the best healthcare for free after the elections? We checked the facts.

A widely circulated video from late April shows Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi telling a campaign event that after the elections, if the ANC wins, anyone will be able to access the best private healthcare.

But is this true?

In the video, Lesufi can clearly be heard telling an enthusiastic audience that whether or not they have medical aid, they will be able to get treatment for free from experts in the private healthcare sector after 29 May 2024, in other words, voting day. He explains that this will be as a result of the National Health Insurance legislation.

After the video went viral, Lesufi released a statement claiming that the video was “manipulated” and that in the full version of his speech, he was urging President Cyril Ramaphosa to sign the NHI bill into law “for its benefits to be due”.

It is true that the video doing the rounds is just a one-and-a-half-minute clip.

There is, however, no reason to believe that it has been digitally manipulated.

We don’t have access to the full record of what Lesufi said in the rest of his address, so he may indeed at some stage have urged the President to promulgate the NHI legislation.

Read more in Daily Maverick: The NHI debate revisited — accurate information and understanding the potential impact are essential

It is very clear from the video, however, that he is promising voters that directly after election day this year they will be able to access private healthcare regardless of their financial situation if the ANC wins.

This is unambiguously untrue.

The Health Minister himself, Joe Phaahla, has clarified that the NHI benefits Lesufi was promising voters will only be available, “far down the line, probably in three years or more”.

Even that may be an optimistic estimate.

The bill has yet to be signed into law by President Ramaphosa. The DA has promised that they will challenge that law in court because they believe aspects of it are unconstitutional, and beyond this, there is widespread agreement that the ambitious promises of the NHI bill are currently unaffordable.

In summary: it is not true that if the ANC wins the vote, South Africans will be able to get the best healthcare for free after the elections.

That prospect, while desirable, is a very distant one indeed. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • K P says:

    It’s deeply disturbing that this claim would be made at all. It’s so blatantly untrue. Nobody will have private healthcare with the NHI. It will all be public healthcare. Why does anyone think the quality will magically improve?

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Another complete and utter buffoon in typical anc mould. This country is awash with such vacuous idiots – we seem to specialize in this. Mabula – you have competition – who is the biggest clown of them all? Cry the beloved country!

    • Alan Watkins says:

      You are being unfair to Rebecca. She is trying her best to make the best of a bad situation wherein that idiot Lesufi shot himself in the foot while same foot was in his mouth. Remember Lesufi is the real buffoon and clown here.

  • Soil Merchant says:

    He was making a divisive statement that “The Government” would pay any hospital bill etc.
    No matter who comes to power after the election the expectation has been created thus setting the platform for SA to become unmanageable and unstable… a clever ploy that both buys votes and fires shots at the opposition.

    • Alley Cat says:

      The ANC did the same regarding free electricity before the 1994 elections. I was in conversation with my dentist recently, complaining about the fact that many people don’t pay for electricity when his dental nurse, who lives in Soweto said that they don’t pay because they were promised free electricity by the ANC.
      Soon many will be queueing up outside private hospitals, demanding free treatment.

  • Random Comment says:

    “But is this true?” Let’s analyse the facts…

    Just imagine if the DA had said something like this in public. Ferial, Stephen et al would be penning furious diatribes running to dozens of pages slating the official opposition.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      Aint that the truth. Reading the article you’d be forgiven for thinking that there might be some explanation other than Lesufi selling porkies.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      Aint that the truth. Reading the article you’d be forgiven for thinking that there might be some explanation other than Lesufi selling porkies.

  • G W says:

    How does a political party get away with making such statements? Surely the IEC has a duty towards all South Africans to ensure that the voters have accurate information in order make an informed voting choice?

    First they stated that if any other party wins the election, that the public grants will be taking away, and that the current ruling party is the only party that will deliver grants.

    Now Lesufi says that after 29 May, any person can walk into a Private Hospital and get medical treatment…

    This statement will cause a massive security risk and complete chaos at private hospitals after 29 May.

  • Maria Janse van Rensburg says:

    Mr. Lesufi is dangerous. He makes promises left, right and centre and his poor officials have to balance the books. It will be interesting to compare the approved 2023/2024 to what the budget was actually spent on.

  • JC Coetzee says:

    Many moons ago, during a Rolling Mass Action (remember them?), Ray Naidoo promised VAT on healthcare will disappear when the ANC takes over. VAT on healthcare is still with us. If it taken away, private healthcare will immediately be 15% cheaper. Think of that, and yes, you pay VAT everytime you access privste healthcare!

  • Bjorn B says:

    As a young, educated South African, I’ve sought reasons to fight for and stay in this country. Yet, the ANC has made it increasingly difficult to remain optimistic month after month. It’s become apparent that they have no intention of helping our beautiful country and its people reach their potential and blossom into the spectacular rainbow nation that the world once spoke of.

    My heart breaks for South Africa every day, and like many others, it seems I’ll be forced to start my family elsewhere — what a shame.

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