Uncategorized 5.2.2014 06:28 am

Snakes are exposed in pay packet orgy

Image courtesy stock.xchnge

Image courtesy stock.xchnge

It’s a time of excesses in Zimbabwe: big storms, big reptiles and monstrously big pay packets that have left us wide-eyed and open-mouthed in disbelief and disgust.

When the fourth black mamba in a few weeks slithered through the undergrowth of my garden the other day, it didn’t take long to work out why there are so many snakes this year. It’s been a season of big storms which have often been so intense that everyone is saying they’ve never seen such violent weather.

After a couple of weeks of very heavy storms, everything is waterlogged, flushing out rodents, reptiles and burrowing creatures.

Exacerbating the snake problem is the ever-increasing lack of habitat as the annual, uncontrolled urban land grab spreads further and further. It’s apparently diplomatically correct to call this “self-apportioned plots” or “peri-urban agriculture”, but in reality it’s just a free-for-all slash and burn.

So with one eye on where the slithery things are, attention turns to the snakes in the public sector and parastatals who have been awarding themselves massive salaries. The first big scandal came before Christmas when we heard that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) CEO was earning $40 000 (R441 000) a month. At a time when civil servants like teachers are earning about $500 a month, the ZBC salary had everyone agog. When the scandal came to light the ZBC CEO was suspended on full pay.

Now we wonder if he’s sitting at home, feet up, watching the boring propaganda on ZBC or if he’s tuned in to DStv.

Just when we’d stopped gossiping about the ZBC big earner, we realised his salary was chicken-feed compared to the obscene pay packets of the public sector medical aid society. Mr Dube, CEO of Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS), has been earning a basic monthly salary of $230 000 while 13 other members of their senior management had been getting $870 000 between them every month.

This is at a time when fee-paying members of PSMAS are paying cash for x-rays, scans, blood tests and other services because their medical aid cards are being rejected for amounts as little as $40. How do you turn away a pensioner who can’t pay for a simple blood test when the CEO’s salary is enough to pay 500 teachers a month?

Hot on the heels of that scandal came press reports that Harare’s municipal management committee members are sharing just under $500 000 a month. The Town Clerk who has now been suspended, presumably on full pay, was earning $37 000 a month while council employees who are cleaning the streets, emptying dustbins and doing other unsavoury things like unblocking sewer pipes are earning around $200 a month.

Everyone is convinced these three monster pay packets are the tip of a giant iceberg and are hoping the whistleblowers keep going, exposing these obscene excesses that are surely the stuff that revolutions are made of.

 

 

 

 

 

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