Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

The ANC supports the policy proposal put forward by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to use money allocated for tax rebates to South Africans on medical aid to fund National Health Insurance (NHI), it confirmed on Monday.

Naledi Pandor, chairwoman of the subcommittee on education, health, science and technology of the ANC national executive committee, made the pronouncement following the governing party’s policy conference last week.

Pandor said that the medical aid tax rebates amounted to about R20bn.

The NHI white paper has been contested by the private sector, which contends that it is vague on implementation.

The white paper makes far-reaching proposals, which signal that sweeping changes are on the cards to medical scheme benefits enjoyed by employees of the state.

Pandor said there was consensus NHI should remain a government priority.

To this end, the ANC had to ensure that the legislative framework for the NHI scheme be finalised by the end of the current term, she said.

"In implementing the NHI, specific emphasis must be given to primary healthcare as the first and most important port of call," Pandor said.

The ANC had to pay special attention to the four major issues in the public health system: human resources, procurement and supply chain systems, financial management and infrastructure maintenance.

The tax rebate was not an additional tax, but money taxpayers were able to claim back, Pandor said. The possibility of stopping these rebates was raised in the white paper.

It was now being considered, she said.

The policy conference also confirmed that education remained "an apex priority of [the] government’s pro-poor policies" and that it was a central pillar in the fight against poverty, inequality and unemployment.

The ANC had to continue strengthening measures to improve access to higher education with the goal of achieving free higher education for the poor and "missing middle", Pandor said. These efforts should include the private sector.

Implementation of a new financial support model had to be accelerated to ensure academically capable students receive fully subsidised higher education and training by 2018, Pandor said. This was subject to the availability of funds.

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