Last month there was a lot of noise after an administrative official from Limpopo province complained that Zimbabweans were overwhelming her healthcare system at the expense of taxpaying South Africans. She was castigated for this but it seems the powers be noticed the support she received from ordinary South Africans. Now most hospitals in the Gauteng province require permission before they can treat a foreign national. Gauteng province is easily the province with the most number of Zimbabweans living in it.

Permission form that foreign patients now have to fill

In the past a lot of South African hospitals would treat foreign patients and often these patients would leave without paying. Most public South African health institutions are funded by taxpayers. Often funds to hospitals are allocated according to the number of people living in a given area. Because foreigners are often undocumented a lot of them would end up not receiving enough money to fund their operations.

Now not only do Zimbabweans and other foreign patients have to fill out a form before they can be treated. There is also a strict pre-payment plan that has to be approved before one can get treated. Patients will not get treated without permission unless they can pay these rather steep fees. For example in the screenshot from above Zimbabweans are expected to pay about R15 000 or US$850 for maternity care. A lot of them will not be able to afford this although it will probably have a chilling effect on those who were crossing th border in pursuit of free maternity care.

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