‘NOT going to work’: Dr Sindi’s tweet about NHI Bill resurfaces

An old tweet of Dr Sindi van Zyl – who tragically died with mounting medical bills – shunning the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, has resurfaced.

On Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the controversial new ruling into law. The move has been met with outrage by the public, political parties, and medical professionals.



Dr Sindi van Zyl – a passionate HIV/Aids activist – lost her life on 10 April 2021 at the age of 45 from Covid-19 complications.

Sindi was fondly known as “the people’s doctor” and the “Duchess of Healing” because of her ability to connect with and impact ordinary South Africans.

At the time of her death, the medical doctor had been on a ventilator in the ICU for several months. Her husband, Marinus, revealed that her medical bills had exceeded R1 million.

However, a few years earlier, Dr Sindi was strictly opposed to the NHI Bill, which aims to make medical treatment affordable and accessible to all South Africans.

She tweeted in 2014: “Introducing NHI into our system will be like using Band-Aid to try and close up a gaping wound. It is NOT going to work.”

In 2018, she tweeted: “No, NHI Bill is not the solution to the health care system in South Africa.”

Ironically, many of her followers believe that Sindi would have been a beneficiary of the new medical legislature, given her own struggle at the time of her death.

@djstago: “Maybe she needed it the most.”

@K1mb0S7: “Irony is she could have benefitted from it”.

sindi van zyl,
Dr Sindi van Zyl had strongly opposed the passing of the NHI Bill. Images via X: @sindivanzyl
Nicknamed the “Duchess of Healing” and the “people’s doctor,” Dr Sindi van Zyl was known for her health activism, particularly in HIV and Aids.

She was also praised for her humility, compassion, and kindness to the public and her patients. Additionally, she also offered free medical advice to anyone who DMed her.

Sadly, her own health took a knock when she was hospitalised after complications of contracting Covid-19. She was placed on a ventilator as she was unable to breathe on her own.

According to her husband, Marinus, the Van Zyl family needed R2 million to settle medical bills as Sindi was not on medical aid.

He told the Sunday Times: “The truth is she was in between medical aids. She didn’t have medical aid when she fell ill. She was still trying to decide which one was best. She’s the doctor in the home, so we all left that to her”.

He continued: “We thought money from mortgaging some of our properties would assist, but it wasn’t enough. We needed help. This whole thing makes me so sad”.