(NNPA/GIN)—All South Africans will enjoy national health insurance under a program scheduled to kick off in 2011 and be implemented during a period of 14 years.

Details of the program were discussed recently at the mid-term conference of the African National Congress.

Thousands are attending the week-long review of the party’s progress in the port city of Durban which featured health care high on the agenda.

Currently, South Africa spends slightly more than 8 percent of its economy on health care, more than any other country on the continent.  Still, only 8 percent of the Black population is covered by a medical care plan, compared to 64 percent of White people.

Opening the conference, President Jacob Zuma, whose administration has created millionaires and billionaires, took the podium to give a speech some called “Zuma straight up with no frills.” He went on the offensive, tackling the challenges to the party from the nationalist ANC Youth League and the socialist Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

“I think they have managed to call each other to order,” observed Fikile Mbalu, ANC head of organizing. “They’re saying ‘Let’s shape what we want the ANC to achieve.’ On the call for nationalization, he said: “I think this is debate we need. I look forward to this robust, somewhat agitated and militant discussion of the issues.”

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