President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday said corruption in the health sector costs lives and mostly affected the poorest of the poor.
Ramaphosa launched the Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum in Tshwane, which was a collaboration between law enforcement, the private sector, and civil society to deal with losses now estimated at R22 billion.
Law enforcement agencies said they were already dealing with cases in all nine provinces.
Ramaphosa said he got a wakeup call during the recent elections campaigning when he discovered how many of the billions of rand allocated to health was targeted by fraudsters.
“It pained me that access to health had been impacted by corruption, some pay above the official rate for free services. Moonlighting nurses neglect patients and vehicles are hired out or sold,” he said.
The president said the focus would now be on prevention to ensure new initiatives, like the National Health Insurance (NHI), succeed.
“Health corruption costs lives…. We have to make sure that NHI pool of funds is not wiped out through fraud and corruption.”
Ramaphosa commended the Special Investigating Unit and National Prosecuting Authority for the cases they were already investigating and prosecuting. He said he was aware that they needed to be capacitated to handle commercial crimes.
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