Netcare exit Lesotho

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By Likhabiso Khabo

Tšepong Consortium has finally packed its bags and loaded some of its properties and equipment at Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital as it left the hospital following its 18-year contract collapse.

KDNews understands amid Tšepong packing its bags and equipment that help run the hospital, but the hospital continues to offer services to members of the public as a referral hospital of the country.

“Since we experience system failure from time to time, we knew what to do when they took their equipment,” said Thakane Mapeshoane, the hospital’s spokesperson.

Mapeshoane also added that the employees jobs are safe as they are now employees of the government.

‘’All they have to do now is to sort our pensions with Metropolitan, but we are now government employees,’’ said Mapeshoane.

Health Minister Semano Sekatle had announced in April Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s administration has resolved to cut ties with the Consortium which runs QMMH since it opened its doors to patients in 2011.

Sekatle said he could no longer continue the 18-year Private Public Partnership (PPP) entered into in 2008 with the Tšepong for the construction, running and transfer of the hospital due to serious differences which had plagued the agreement from its inception.

In October 2008 an 18-year world bank lauded Public Private Partnership agreement was signed by the government and the Tšepong Consortium, for the construction and operation of the hospital.

Netcare had a 40 percent stake in the Tšepong Consortium. Four other companies, namely, Afri’nnai of South Africa, Excel Health, Women Investment and D10 Investments (all from Lesotho), hold the balance of the shares.

The Consortium came under attack for allegedly fleecing Lesotho and flouting the Public Private Partnership agreement for years with impunity with its operations thwarted by wild cat nurses strikes for salary increments since 2012.

Sekatle said the last straw was the Tšepong’s decision to fire 345 striking nurses and nursing assistants at the institution.

The nurses went on strike on 1 February 2021 to press the government and the hospital to award them salary increments to match their counterparts in other government and private institutions.

The Hospital’s nurses said they have not been awarded any increments since 2012 when the government and the Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL) increased the salaries of nurses at other institutions.

According to the Lesotho Nurses Association (LNA), nurses at the hospital earn about M9000 each per month. The figure is way less than the M13 000 earned by their colleagues in CHAL facilities and other government hospitals.

Health ministry Principal Secretary (PS) Khothatso Tšooana subsequently wrote to the Consortium informing it of the government’s decision to terminate the contract.

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