ATC210311: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Health on the National Health Amendment Bill [B29 – 2018], dated 10 March 2021



Report of the Portfolio Committee on Health on the National Health Amendment Bill [B29 – 2018], dated 10 March 2021


The Portfolio Committee on Health (the Committee), having considered the National Health Amendment Bill [B29 – 2018] (National Assembly – section 76), referred to it and classified by the Joint Tagging Mechanism (JTM) as a section 76 Bill, reports as follows:


  1. The National Health Amendment Bill [B29-2018], a private member’s Bill, was tabled and referred to the Committee on 3 September 2018. 


  1. The Bill seeks to amend the National Health Act, 2003 (Act No.61 of 2003), in order to provide that clinics in the public sector must operate and provide health services 24 hours a day and seven days a week. 


  1. The Committee met with the sponsor of the Bill, Dr S Thembekwayo MP, on 7 October 2020, in order to receive a briefing on the Bill.


  1. The Committee received input on the Bill from the Department of Health (the Department) on 21 October 2020. 


  1. The Committee observed and noted the following in relation to the proposed amendments as contained in the Bill, as presented by the Department:


  1. There are financial implications to this proposed Bill and that the government budget cycledetermine the strategic objectives and the annual performance plan to achieve the goal of the government of the day. 
  2. The Bill in its current form will have massive financial implications for the Department and the Ministry and that the quantification of costs must be done before the Bill could be considered. 
  3. The Department has a commitment to ensure that all primary health carefacilities operate for 24 hours and this is being achieved through progressive means as and when the resources become available. 
  4. The proposed legislation would likely not be the most appropriate vehicle to ensure that PHC facilities operate for 24 hours, as there were facilities that were operating for 24 hours already.
  5. There is a need for comprehensive data on the factors informing the operation of 24-hour facilities, such as human and other resources and funding for expanded services.


The Committee is of the opinion that thereare primary healthfacilities that are already operating for 24 hours and that are not legislated for. Furthermore, the Committee is currently busy with the processing of the National Health Insurance Bill, which might also have an impact on the proposed legislation. Of concern to the Committee, is that the country is currently under financial stress and therefore the Department would struggle toadjust the current budget against the health requirements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.



After due deliberation, a motion of desirability on the subject matter of the Bill was placed before the Committee as required by the National Assembly Rule 286(4)(i) to vote on.


The Committee thanks Dr Thembekwayo for sponsoring this Bill and in so doing giving the Committee the opportunity to engage in a continuous debate on the most appropriate health system forthe country.



Votes in favour of the motion on the desirability of the Bill:         _________


Votes rejecting the motion on desirability of the Bill:                   5 Members (Ms A Gela, Mr M Sokatsha, Dr K Jacobs, Ms ERL Wilson and Mr P Van Staden



Report to be considered.





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