South Africa: President to Sign Controversial NHI Bill Into Law - South African News Briefs - May 14, 2024

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
14 May 2024


Ramaphosa to Sign Controversial NHI Bill Into Law Amid Opposition

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to sign the contentious National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into law on Wednesday, according to a statement from the Presidency, reports News24. The bill aims to establish universal healthcare for all South Africans by abolishing the current two-tier system favoring private healthcare. While proponents argue the NHI will expand access, critics like the DA and Business Unity SA have petitioned Ramaphosa not to sign the bill, arguing it is unconstitutional and would limit rather than expand healthcare access by phasing out medical aid scheme benefits. The bill has remained unchanged since 2019 despite criticism from healthcare stakeholders. If signed into law, the opposition has signaled intentions to challenge the NHI in court.

Former Bank Employees Sentenced for Stealing from Clients' Accounts

A former Standard Bank employee, 37-year-old Dorcus Nyambi, was sentenced to eight years imprisonment by the Nelspruit Specialised Commercial Crime Court for stealing R940,000 from the account of a deceased client, reports IOL. Nyambi, who worked as an administrator, reactivated the dormant account while the family was processing the estate claim, created fake beneficiaries, and deposited funds into their accounts. In a separate case, a former FNB employee, Mzwakhe Khumalo, was found guilty of stealing R400,000 from a German national's investment account by changing contact details, canceling signing authority, and transferring funds. These cases highlight the severe consequences faced by bank employees involved in defrauding clients' accounts.

George Tragedy Unveils Regulatory Gap

The Liatel Construction company, the main contractor for the devastating George collapsed building development, was not registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), Public Works Minister Sihle Zikalala revealed, reports News24. While registration with the CIDB is mandatory for public sector contractors, Liatel operates in the private sector, where such registration is not currently required. Zikalala stated that the government is pushing for legislation to require private contractors to undergo similar assessments as those in the public sector. As the death toll from the collapse rose to 32, officials faced challenges in identifying the recovered bodies due to decomposition and relied on methods like fingerprinting and DNA matching. The Engineering Council of South Africa has also appointed an investigator to probe factors contributing to the collapse, including the conduct of engineering professionals involved in the project's design and implementation.

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