Letter: Appeasement is bad for your health - Financial Mail

5 September 2019 - It is apparent from his answers to Giulietta Talevi (‘Discovery Health CEO Jonathan Broomberg on NHI’s impact, FM, 29 August) that Dr Broomberg’s grasp of lobbying strategy is even worse than his grasp of National Health Insurance policy.

It is apparent from his answers to Giulietta Talevi (‘Discovery Health CEO Jonathan Broomberg on NHI’s impact, FM, 29 August) that Dr Broomberg’s grasp of lobbying strategy is even worse than his grasp of National Health Insurance policy.

Dr Broomberg echoes the ideas and tone of the mining industry at the time it lost its mineral rights. As was the case in that industry, Dr Broomberg proposes to go along to get along with the government, falling directly into the trap set for him as the government understands that it cannot dismantle South Africa’s health industry without buy-in from the industry itself.

Today, leading mining CEOs describe South Africa as uninvestable, and Dr Broomberg’s lead will help facilitate a similar catastrophe for our healthcare industry.

Our country’s farmers on the other hand, after a year of appeasement in the aftermath of the ANC’s decision on expropriation without compensation (EWC) at its Nasrec conference, have changed tack and as a result they are now in a much stronger position to challenge EWC.

After fifteen years of working in this field, I remain amazed at how poorly large South African corporations understand the nature and ideology of the ruling party or the strategy and tactics used to pursue that ideology. The pursuit of NHI, for example, is not about better healthcare services but about equal healthcare services, which means that budget constraints are irrelevant in the eyes of the government. Private sector efficiency is of little import if ideology dictates that the State should direct all strategic sectors of the economy.

Appeasement fails every time when your opponent only respects forthrightness and the demonstration of strength of character in defending a line on the sand. Because none of this is on display from health-related corporations, South Africa’s main hope to curb the negative impacts of NHI is for our country’s doctors to organise themselves in effective opposition.

Dr Frans Cronje,

CEO, Institute of Race Relations

© 2018 South African Institute of Race Relations
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