Johannesburg - The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Tuesday questioned the presidency's confidence in the planned National Health Insurance (NHI), saying there should be no need to build a special health facility at Bryntirion ministerial estate in Pretoria.
"With health moving towards the NHI in order to bring public health services up to standard, we would be expecting their confidence in the existing public health system and not creating elite health services which will benefit only a small number of people," said Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven.
Craven was responding to the Treasury allocating more than R350m over three years for the upgrading of the ministerial estate.
This included an executive military health facility to serve the president, cabinet and visiting VIPs - at a cost of R62m over the next three years.
It also included R19m for the refurbishment of the president's official Pretoria residence.
Last month, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi
said details of the long-awaited NHI scheme, which the government has been working on for the past year, would soon be released for public inspection.
"The issue is, should the government be spending so much money on facilities which benefit so few when so many lack the basic facilities," said Craven.Seven cars for Zuma wives
His comments came as The Star newspaper reported on Tuesday that President Jacob Zuma
wanted seven vehicles permanently available for his wives.
According to the report, the presidential protection and security service was looking for a vehicle hire business that could provide a vehicle available "at all times" in seven of the nine provinces. Gauteng and the Western Cape already had vehicles available.
Police spokesperson Colonel Vishnu Naidoo confirmed that the protection unit needed one vehicle on stand-by in every province for the presidency.
"They are for the first ladies," said Naidoo.
Presidential spokesperson Zizi Kodwa
could not immediately be reached for comment.
Zuma was leaving on a state visit to France on Tuesday.