NHI constitutionally sound, says chief state law advisor

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and the office of the state law advisor on Thursday briefed the health committee for the first time since the NHI Bill was submitted to Parliament.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill is constitutionally sound according to the chief state law advisor.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and the office of the state law advisor on Thursday briefed the health committee for the first time since the NHI Bill was submitted to Parliament.

It is now up to Members of Parliament to take that bill forward and get it passed into law to make universal healthcare more accessible to all South Africans.

Before Thursday’s meeting, the health committee had undertaken to scrutinise the constitutionality and legality of the controversial NHI Bill.

This followed concerns raised by opposition parties about this bill’s constitutionality and how it took away certain individual rights when it came to healthcare.

But acting chief state law advisor Ayesha Johaar allayed these concerns, saying the bill would pass constitutional muster.

“In relation to the introduction of the National Health Insurance Bill, we - in accordance with the National Assembly rules - certified that this bill is constitutionally sound.”

Mkhize said health is a human right and the bill would go a long way in resolving inequalities.

“I think it is important to anchor the bill on the basis of health as a human right and it is the whole approach we have taken with this bill.”