Motsoaledi hits out at critics, warns private healthcare change is inevitable

2013-10-30 13:12

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Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has launched a scathing attack against his critics who say he is using the competition commission to fight his battles with the private healthcare sector.

Motsoaledi did not mince his words when he addressed delegates on the last day of the Hospital Association of SA’s conference in Cape Town today.

He said: “There are stories going around that I have brought the competition commission to destroy the private healthcare sector.

“Let me make it clear that I have no intention of destroying the private healthcare sector, nor do I have any secret agenda. But my intention is to work towards improving healthcare in South Africa so that we are able to achieve the concept of universal access,” he said.

“Those who say that I have a secret agenda are wrong. My agenda is to ensure that healthcare is affordable for every citizen of this country,” said Motsoaledi.

He further cautioned the private healthcare industry that he would not hesitate to tackle any impediment to achieving universal healthcare coverage.

Motsoaledi told delegates that government had done the same with the tobacco industry and it was in the process of doing it with the alcohol industry.

He said alcohol was destroying families and burdening the health system.

“The alcohol industry agrees with me on this, but they say: ‘Please don’t touch (us) because jobs will be lost and the economy will collapse.’ Allow us to resolve these issues on our own and they turn around and sell meat marinade in the supermarket package in containers that look like Castle (lager) bottles.”

Motsoaledi described this as sheer arrogance fuelled by the perception of financial power and muscle. He said he hoped he would not be met with similar arrogance as he brings changes to South Africa’s health system.

He warned that the changes will mean a big change in how things are done – in both the public and the private sectors.

He said: “There is no way that an individual can say that this transition will not touch them, because other major similar health transitions touched everybody in the world.”

Motsoaledi was referring to the transition to proper sanitation and clean water in the 18th century and the epidemiological transition that brought about vaccination against infectious diseases like smallpox in the 20th century.

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