In a pragmatic move to tackle one of the most pressing problems confronting public healthcare, the Treasury has shifted unspent National Health Insurance (NHI) funds to provinces so they can fill critical posts. The development is consistent with the emphasis President Cyril Ramaphosa has placed on tacking the crisis in healthcare, and suggests a pragmatism about NHI in the face of the problems gripping the sector. “Implementing NHI is a policy priority for the sector. However, the government needs to address staff shortages and other problems in public health facilities before the policy can be fully rolled out,” the Treasury said in its budget review.

Addressing journalists ahead of his budget speech, finance minister Tito Mboweni said one of the most pressing issues is the poor state of public hospitals. “There is nothing difficult about getting a hospital to run properly — it’s management. Don’t get caught up too much in conceptual debates.” He struck a practical note in h...

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