President Ramaphosa to sign health insurance bill into law just before election

Tuesday May 14 2024

President Cyril Ramaphosa interacts with youth during his door-to-door election campaign where he visited voting stations and homes encouraging citizens to register for the upcoming elections in Soweto, South Africa on February 3, 2024. PHOTO | REUTERS


South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Wednesday sign into law a national health bill that aims to provide universal coverage to South Africans, the country's presidency said in a statement.

The signing of the National Health Insurance bill - popular among voters - will come just before the May 29 national election that could test the African National Congress' 30-year rule.

The bill, which will be implemented in stages at a cost of billions of dollars, received Ramaphosa's approval after it was passed by lawmakers last year.

Read: Key issues for SA voters in wide open May polls

The law aims to provide healthcare to millions of poor citizens in a major overhaul of a two-tier system, which still reflects deep racial and social inequalities three decades after the end of white minority rule.

The legislation has been strongly opposed by business groups which say it will lead to disinvestment in the healthcare sector and damage South Africa's already fragile economy.


Political commentators say that concrete changes are unlikely to come soon even once the bill is signed.