PSMI workers camp at Parkview Hospital over unpaid salaries since October

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By Anna Chibamu

PREMIER Service Medical Investments (PSMI) workers have written to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) requesting the intervention of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga regarding their outstanding salaries.

PSMI workers, who have gone for up to ten months without salaries and allowances resulting in them being evicted by their landlords due to non-payment of rentals and bills have resorted to camping at Park View Hospital since February 17.

The private healthcare provider’s premises at Park View Hospital in the Avenues now resembles a lodge or a canteen with food items such as rice, sugar, and cooking oil shelved by the reception area.

Some workers were even serving each other sadza with cabbage stew as lunchtime food in the presence of the media during a Press conference, where the workers’ representatives led by national chairman of the workers’ committee Munyaradzi Nharaunda and Maneta Dzauma (middle management workers’ representative) said management and the board had ignored their plight.

“We submitted our letter about the crisis about two weeks ago to the Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet as well as to the Office of the Vice President,” said Dzauma

“We went to the Police and our case was handled by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) anti-corruption unit. There are dockets there with evidence including the Cecilia Alexander issue and there was an arrest of some five executives,” she said.

She said they also took the issue to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) which they were told was handled by the compliance department.

“Our complaints were in two parts. There were issues that were of criminal nature and compliance nature. Our submissions to ZACC were of compliance nature for the compliance unit was tasked to handle them.

“We thought they would quickly come in after submitting evidence to them detailing what has happening. What we know is interviews were done with our leadership but we never got a report. Nobody reported to us. We are simply employees.

“Nobody is accountable to us. The only card that we hold is we are citizens of Zimbabwe and we have a right to speak out. We are looking for assistance from all angles. We started with H.E (President Mnangagwa) because of his vision 2030 where he wants to ensure we don’t lose our jobs and that there is access to healthcare for everybody,” Ms Dzauma said.

The PSMI employees alleged that management had been mum on embezzlement allegations raised against the board and some directors, an issue that was reported to the police.

They accused the police of not doing their job because no arrests have been made despite overwhelming evidence of corrupt activities based on information supplied by the workers.

“We have evidence to prove these allegations. We know that in January 2022, directors and board members when we were struggling, got each USD 11000 to go for holidays.

“This pains us the most because we have lost our colleagues while some are living at the premises. Our children have stopped going to school and are staying with relatives and friends,” added Dzauma.

She said Government had bailed out Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) which owns PSMI with over ZW$4 billion yet the company had areas of over ZW$6 billion.

“We were in arrears since June last year. Our wage bill is huge. Most of the money went to shared-services. We have three payrolls and the executive payroll consumed most of the money where only 13 executives got the large chunk of the $4.2 billion against 2300 employees who are yet to get their salaries and allowances in full.”

Zimbabwe’s largest private healthcare provider, PSMI runs a chain of hospitals, clinics and laboratories with 126 service centres in 10 provinces across the country.