MPILO Central Hospital has been accused of misplaced priorities that have compounded the ongoing crisis at the health institution.
According to a letter sent to Southern Eye by some concerned employees, Mpilo Hospital chief executive officer (CEO) Lawrence Mantiziba has been driving in a Mercedes Benz vehicle rented for him from CMED (Private) Limited at a cost of $7 000 per month from the time he joined the health institution in 2012.
This means about $126 000 has been spent hiring a Mercedes-Benz vehicle for Mantiziba from the time he joined Mpilo Hospital up to the end of April this year.
Concerned workers claimed that Mantiziba turned down a Mazda BT50 vehicle rented from the CMED (Pvt) Ltd at $1 980 per month opting for the luxurious Benz.
The letter also claimed that Mantiziba’s child was sent to a private school where the hospital paid $1 200 per term despite a government regulation that it only pays fees for children at public schools.
The letter also alleged that the hospital paid a security company manning the hospital $30 000 of the $50 000 received from the government instead of buying supplies for the institution.
This made the workers suspect that the security company belonged to a friend of Mantiziba.
The allegations come in the aftermath of reports that Mpilo Hospital had suspended conducting all surgical procedures because of critical shortages of drugs and operating theatre consumables.
Mantiziba yesterday invited Southern Eye to meet members of his management team at the hospital where he denied the allegations of misplaced priorities arguing that there were already strategies to turn the health institution into a state-of-the-art facility.
“When I came I was given a BT50, but I am a principal director. CEOs are principal directors; those at head office I do not report to them, we co-ordinate,” Mantiziba said. These are cars that we are entitled to. All CEOs of hospitals use these cars. The CEO of United Bulawayo Hospitals uses a Mercedes Benz; the CEO of Ingutsheni (Psychiatric Hospital) has one also. The CEO of Harare Hospital and Chitungwiza drive BMW X5 vehicles. Why should a CEO for Mpilo drive a second-hand BT50? We are the same grade.”
Mantiziba said the government, and not the hospital, paid for the vehicles.
“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. 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 said.
Mantiziba said great strides and strategies had been made towards the turnaround of Mpilo, but declined to divulge them.
“As for the security company, the allegations that they are my friends are absolutely false.”
Mpilo Hospital clinical director Wedu Ndebele said he was the acting CEO when the security company was hired last year and Mantiziba had not been appointed to head the institution. Ndebele said the security company had initially lost the tender, but that decision was overturned by the courts.
“We owe them in excess of $600 000 and we paid them $30 000,” Mantiziba said.
“Before that they had gone on strike,” Ndebele added in support of his boss.