Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Trade union federation Cosatu has defended the much-vaunted National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme‚ saying critics were funded lobbyists.

On Wednesday, Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said NHI critics had no interest in policies that sought to address SA’s inequality crisis.

This comes after a group of economists‚ political parties and individuals launched an attack on the NHI Bill and as well as NHI policy.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has introduced NHI as an attempt to provide universal healthcare for all South Africans.

"At the moment there are shocking inequalities and problems in our healthcare system. While our country spends a lot of money on healthcare‚ compared to many other countries‚ only a few [about eight-million people] have access to good-quality healthcare‚" Pamla said in a statement.

Cosatu also vowed to ensure that the redistribution of resources through the NHI favoured the poor.

"We will also push back against the vultures that want to continue to feast on the carcasses of our poor and sick people‚" Pamla added.

Pamla also criticised the link between NHI and Motsoaledi’s tenure as health minister.

He said: "Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is not the NHI. The NHI will remain a policy of government with or without him as a minister of health and‚ therefore‚ we cannot continue to bond any policy of government for that matter with one particular person."

Pamla also called on the government not to be distracted by those who are anti-NHI.

"We are fully behind the NHI and we will not allow these funded lobbyists to distract from the goal of transforming our health system‚" he said.

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