Private hospital struggles to pay employees

By Sihle Mavuso

Some workers employed by labour brokers in one of the biggest private hospitals in northern KwaZulu-Natal claim that they have not been paid since November.

The employees at Abaqulusi Private Hospital in Vryheid told Scrolla.Africa that their salary woes started in November and that the director of the hospital, Thami Mlotshwa, is not giving them clear answers about when they will be paid. 

At some point, the distressed employees who are now knee-deep in debt met with Mlotshwa in the presence of the police to demand their salaries. 

On Friday last week, the unpaid employees held a protest to demand payment and Mlotshwa promised them that it would reflect over the weekend – but that did not happen.

According to one of the employees, Mlotshwa made a written undertaking to pay them. However, he later failed to honour the undertaking signed before the SAPS in Vryheid. 

There followed another back-and-forth with Mlotshwa. In one WhatsApp exchange between Mlotshwa and the employees, he said he was outvoted during a board meeting when he proposed that the employees be paid.

“This is bad for a big hospital like this one; we have worked yet we are not getting our salaries,” one employee said about the ongoing situation.

“Our families have to be fed. Mind you, some of us here spent Christmas with no money yet we are working.”

On Monday Scrolla.Africa contacted Mlotshwa. He said all the hospital’s permanent employees have been paid, but the challenge is with the staff they hired via labour brokers.

“Please note that none of our permanent staff is owed or short-paid. It is the staff we get through the agency that is owed,” Mlotshwa said.

He said the financial challenges which led to the non-payment of the staff from labour brokers were not of the hospital’s making. 

“The Board of Healthcare Funders created a problem for us, which led to the hospital not getting any medical aid payments for the past three months. This has led to us not being able to service our obligations.

“The problem has been resolved and we are expecting to start getting payments from this week onwards and the agency staff will be paid soon,” Mlotshwa said. 

Some employees confirmed to Scrolla.Africa on Tuesday that they have been paid half their salaries while the doctors have been paid in full.

Pictured above: Abaqulusi Private Hospital. 

Image source: Abaqulusi Private Hospital Facebook page


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