MPILO Central Hospital chief executive officer (CEO) Lawrence Mantiziba has defended his track record saying those accusing him of a lavish lifestyle at the expense of the region’s largest referral hospital want to tarnish his image.
Mantiziba, who has been at the helm of the hospital since 2012, opened up in the wake of complaints by some Mpilo Hospital employees that he rejected a BT50 vehicle and opted for a hired Mercedes-Benz.
He said the government pays CMED (Pvt) Ltd $5 600 a month for the car not $7 000 as previously claimed. Mantiziba said the BT50 vehicle he was being asked to drive was not less “than six to 10 years old”.
“My directors drive Isuzu twin cabs that are relatively new and I am expected to take a 10 year-old single cab as the CEO,” he said.
The CEO said his peers at Ingutsheni and the United Bulawayo Hospitals were allocated Mercedes-Benz vehicles hired from the CMED, but were not being vilified.
“The money to hire this vehicle does not come from Mpilo, but the government as part of my conditions of service,” he said.
A letter that alleged deepening rot at the institution also alleged that Mantiziba was being overpaid in education allowances, an accusation he dismissed as uninformed.
“CEOs are entitled to education allowances based on the fees of Prince Edward which is a government school. If it is day school they pay accordingly and the same with boarding,” he said.
“The fee at Prince Edward now is $1 300 yet my child pays $1 200 which as you can see is actually lower. I have another child at university and they pay about $700 per semester, but I haven’t claimed that money.”
Mantiziba also hit out at attempts to link the issue of the car hire to a security services contract with Manifest Security company.
He was accused of paying out the company $30 000 because he was friends with its director.
“As for the security company, the allegations that they are my friends are absolutely false,” he said. “Someone says I was wrong to pay the security company. If we do not then will they provide security to this place.
“We owe them in excess of $600 000 and we paid them $30 000.” Mantiziba said Manifest was only paid after they had approached Provincial Affairs minister Eunice Sandi and Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
He said he suspected the people behind the “smear campaign” were those against his anti-corruption drive at the institution.
“Since my arrival I have been very strict on discipline,” he said. “A number of people have been fired after due process that included appeals to the Health Services Board. It is possible that they are now trying to hit back through these malicious letters.”
Mantiziba said he deserves credit for transforming Mpilo Hospital within the short period he has been at the helm. He said his achievements included the following among others:
- Recruited critical staff (Top four positions filled, seven surgeons and 17 consultants,
- 1 400 staff trained to improve service delivery,
- Refurbished radio therapy unit at a cost of $6 million,
- Resource mobilation drive has seen donation of ambulances, NRZ free coal delivery and delivery of medical equipment from donors,
- Donors have come on board to adopt wards, construction of 3km perimeter fence,
- A strategic plan for Mpilo Hospital for 2013 to 2017.