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Zimbabweans Express Outrage at Hefty PSMAS Salaries

Struggling Zimbabweans were Thursday shocked by revelations that senior management at the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) are earning absurd amounts of money, gobbling at least a million dollars monthly when the company is reeling under a $38 million debt.

According to the state-run Herald newspaper, 14 of the company's senior managers at the health care provider earn $1.1 million every month while in 2012 the group’s top chief executive, Cuthbert Dube, allegedly earned a basic salary of $230,000 monthly.

Other top executives earned between $200,000 to $100,000 monthly.

According to the Herald, documents show all other workers at the company earned a combined $900,000 monthly in the same year.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe treasurer Ladistous Zunde said the allegations were beyond imagination, especially of struggling civil servants, adding although the reports were yet to be confirmed or denied, “there is no smoke without fire.”

Zunde said the allegations were a blow to civil servants who recently accepted a low salary increment offered by the government. He said most civil servants have been failing to access health care through PSMAS as they were repeatedly being told that they had run out of funds.

"As far as we are concerned, to realize that there are some people with the audacity to go to work and get such money, when the generality of government workers are wallowing in poverty," said Zunde, "is appalling."

PSMAS, which covers government workers as well as private individuals, is now struggling to have its operating license renewed as it owes hospitals and other service providers.

The company covers 600,000 civil servants, including members of the uniformed forces and pensioners.

Executive director of the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe John Mufukare says the implications of the allegations could be far reaching, especially for those civil servants who may be left exposed "in such a sad and regrettable situation."
He said the situation as PSMAS is also found at other parastatals and other private companies and health care providers.

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But Mufukare said he did not condone the "salary schedules appearing in the newspapers that are completely out of kilter as far as salaries in Zimbabwe are concerned.”

The health ministry is said to be investigating the matter..