President Cyril Ramaphosa has put the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme at the top of his list of priorities, telling the health-care industry on Friday that his office will be taking the reins of NHI. “Leadership is what matters, and that is why I have decided that I am going to, from the president’s office ... provide leadership on NHI ... We are going to lead it and we are going to be talking about it all the time because it is important [and] in my view, it is achievable,” Ramaphosa said. The plan is to implement NHI incrementally from next year, he said. Full implementation has previously been earmarked for 2026. Ramaphosa was speaking during a consultative meeting in Pretoria with health-sector stakeholders, including medical aid schemes, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), policymakers and health-sector decision makers.

For decades SA has had what Ramaphosa described as a “two-tiered” health-care system where most of the country’s population, which lives in pover...

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