Teacher stuck with medical bill as First Lady allegedly goes back on promise

2010-06-07 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG school teacher has been lumped with medical bills amounting to thousands of rands after the embattled First Lady, Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma, allegedly reneged on a promise to pay the bills.

Thokozani Zuma says the creditors have taken her to their lawyers and to debt collectors in an attempt to recover more than R30 000 of their money.

She said she incurred this debt when she signed on as a guardian for one of her pupils, Londiwe Mdunge, an orphan who needed an operation on her damaged parotid glands, on the undertaking that MaNtuli would pay for the operation.

The condition has apparently left Londiwe with two infected holes below her ears that have liquid oozing out of them.

“When I saw the distress the child was in, I decided to help her and I contacted Sbu Buthelezi of Ukhozi and I contacted Ntuli who pledged to assist.”

She said MaNtuli insisted that the child be taken to a private hospital because the doctors at the government hospital had botched her first operation.

“She recommended a specialist in Durban who gave us a quote of around R30 000, and she paid the initial deposit of R10 000 and pledged to raise the rest through donors.”

Zuma said MaNtuli failed to raise the rest of the money and she stopped taking her calls.

She said the hospital refused to release the child until the rest of the money had been paid; it relented only after receiving an assurance from her that she would pay.

MaNtuli did not pay, however, and because Zuma has signed as a guardian of the child, the creditors started demanding their money from her.

Among the people she owes money to are Lancet Laboratories, which has passed her invoices to debt collectors to recover R1 341,10; the ­Durdoc clinic, which is demanding R18 4446,14; and an anaesthesiologist who is demanding R1 000.

“I am an ordinary teacher. I do not have this kind of money, and if I did I would just pay because these companies have taken me to their lawyers, which means the money is going to increase significantly.”

Zuma said she is also worried that the child, who is no longer receiving her medication because of the situation, could regress.

“She was supposed to go for checkups 12 times but she has only gone twice.”

She said doctors have pledged to do the checkups free of charge.

Zuma’s concerns were echoed by Londiwe’s aunt, Ncamisile Dladla, who said the infection in the child’s one ear is getting worse.

“One ear has completely healed, but the other is starting to leak again and we believe it’s because she is not getting her medication,” said Dladla.

Attempts to contact MaNtuli yesterday were unsuccessful.

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