By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
31 January 2014
The Harare Municipality Medical Aid Society (HMMAS) is unable to take care of its members because the city’s management has failed to remit to it medical aid subscriptions, amounting to as much as $6m, the state media reported Friday.
This has gone on for two years and is despite the fact that the council is deducting subscriptions from the workers’ salaries, the Herald reported. The report said the bungling by Town House has seen council workers, some of whom have not been paid for three months, forced to pay cash upfront for medical treatment.
Harare Municipal Workers Union chairperson, Cosmas Bungu, confirmed the workers’ plight. Bungu said doctors are turning workers away telling them that they owe money.
An unnamed HMMAS official is quoted attributing the problem to the treasury department which is said to be acting on ‘directives’ to divert the medical aid subscriptions. This development follows revelations earlier this week that the city’s top managers are earning mega-salaries, with a single director taking home a salary that could pay as many as 227 low-earning council workers.
Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni confirmed the state of affairs. He is quoted in the report saying there is no excuse for the current situation and medical aid subscriptions ‘must not be diverted.’