Johannesburg - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi
has slammed the private healthcare system, saying this needed to be regulated first before a national health insurance could be put into place.
The Times newspaper quoted him on Thursday as saying: "If you want to be a billionaire, don't own a mine... own a private hospital."
He was speaking to members of the Congress of SA Trade Unions' central committee.
He said if one took a simple procedure such as a circumcision as an example, a private hospital would charge up to R15 000, while the same procedure would cost R400 in a state hospital.
"The first thing to do... is to ensure that the charges are regulated in the private health industry. If you don't solve this issue, comrades, we can introduce national health insurance and within six months it will be dead.
"The cost of healthcare is being arbitrarily raised in South Africa unfairly," he said.
The government plans to introduce a national health insurance in the next few years, but is yet to announce details on how it would be implemented.