Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery has lamented the prevalence of corruption in the country’s health sector. Quoting the Medical Aid Schemes Council, Jeffery said the private sector alone loses R22 billion a year to fraud.
He was speaking at the launch of the Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum (HSACF) at the Union Buildings earlier on Tuesday.
Jeffery says the sector is vulnerable due to its large and varied numbers of transactions on goods and services that it makes.
“We are all familiar with the ongoing investigation by the SIU into persons suing government hospitals for malpractice and certain state attorneys who either settle cases that have no merit or deliberately lose cases. We are pleased to advise that significant strides have already been made in this area. The work done by the SIU has already led to, amongst others, the arrest of an attorney in the Eastern Cape related to fraudulent medical and legal claims estimated to be over R100 million. The attorney is out on R80 000 bail and the SIU has successfully stopped a further R39 million in payment to him.”
Earlier, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum is a critical step in South Africa’s move towards universal health care.
Ramaphosa says that fears that the NHI fund will become a target for criminals, must be taken seriously.
“Now, this forum here, the agreement that we are signing today will enable us to have our antennas up to make sure that we do what Advocate Mothibi was saying, that we embark on preventative measures to ensure that we do not, for one minute, encourage those with corrupt intentions to think that the NHI fund is a place where they can go and plunder the money.”
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