PSMI workers camp at Park View Hospital With Pots, Pans and Food Stuffs

THE situation at Premier Service Medical Investments (PSMI) has reached another level as workers have resorted to camping at Park View Hospital as some have been evicted from their homes due to non payment of rentals and bills.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

The workers have been camped at Park View from February 17, this year. The workers have gone for up to ten months without salaries and allowances resulting in them being evicted by their landlords. On sad note, one employee that had heavily borrowed from people committed suicide after failing to cope with the lack of salaries. Some of the workers come as far as Chiredzi in Masvingo.

On entering the first floor, one is greeted by food items such as rice, sugar, and cooking oil shelved by the reception area, while some workers were even serving each other sadza with cabbage stew as lunchtime food in the presence of the media.

We are in camp meaning there are those committed to stay here until their grievances are resolved. There are those who can do side jobs. But people in the private sector can do locums can can bring a packet of sugar, of rice, cooking oil or even contribute a dollar.

“Those on locums are helping us. There are also those who are all the time because they do not have a place to stay. They cannot do the locums who are housed here. We have about 20 permanent residents here. We started camping here from 17 February 2013. About the children and wives, their relatives are taking care of the children and even their property,” said PSMI Middle Management representative Ms Maneta Dzauma.

The workers’ representatives and the middle management representatives have for the umpteenth time appealed to the Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Vice President Constantine Chiwenga to intervene into the crisis.

“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.

“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,” said the PSMI Middle Management representive.

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 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.

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.

Ms Maneta also accused the company’s Human Resources director named Marshall Dube for not honoring the PSMI retirement clause that employees should retire at the age of 60.

She said this directive is only being applied to middle management and NEC lower level grades.

“We have seen that the top management like the Human Resources director Marshall Dube who turned 61 but he gave about 50 people in the middle management and lower grades retirement notices.

“Of the people on retirement who should be given their pensions from a pension scheme with FML, they are being told there is nothing,” Ms Dzauma.

She fingered Apex Council chairperson Ms Cecilia Alexander who is the PSMI board vice chairperson for continuously splurging the company’s funds despite her tenure having lapsed.

Retirees that spoke to HealthTimes claimed that one England Pelam splashed their pension funds.

“I am here for my money. I started working here in 2000 when it was still SouthMed which was sold to Strategies. We were then bought by PSMI in 2004 and I am still here. I was given a retirement notice but I have nothing. We went to check for our pensions but there was nothing as the money was splurged by one England Pelam,” said Leticia Chikumbirike aged 60.

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