South Africa's National Assembly has passed a controversial bill to introduce universal health coverage in the country.
South Africa's health minister, Joe Phaahla, hailed the approval of the bill as "a historic step" for the legislation that had been in the pipeline for twelve years.
The opposition fears that the already overburdened public health system will collapse if the new legislation comes into force.
Leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), denounced the move saying that nine million of the 60 million South Africans who have medical insurance "would have to be covered by an already overburdened public health system".
In Africa's leading industrial power, public hospitals are often overcrowded and under-resourced or understaffed.
The most privileged often turn to the private sector.