BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
RESIDENTS of Southlea Park in Harare have given government a seven-day ultimatum to stop attempts by Odar Housing Development Consortium (OHDC) to privatise a local school.
Southlea Park Residents Association (SoPRA) on Monday wrote to the Education ministry permanent secretary Tumisang Thabela demanding that government stops withdrawing teachers from Southlea Park Primary School as the landowners seek to privatise the learning institution.
The residents are objecting to privatisation of the school, arguing that they built it with their own funds.
According to the letter dated May 24, 2021 written by SoPRA through their lawyers Alex F and Associates Attorneys, the residents insist that the school is a public institution.
They threatened to take the matter to court if government failed to comply.
“It is pertinent at this juncture to highlight that the school in question was never to be a private institution,” part of the letter read.
“We have attached a letter confirming that stand owners, the said beneficiaries in Southlea Park who constitute the community of the area, took upon themselves the burden to build and establish the school in question. Nothing could have been clearer than that position.”
They also want the Education ministry to disclose and surrender all documents submitted by OHDC in its attempt to privatise the learning institution.
“We place it on record that the conduct of your ministry purporting to facilitate the transfer of the current teaching staff from Southlea Park Primary School is unacceptable and clearly infringes the constitutional rights to education for our clients’ children, who are currently enrolled at the school, which is now being secretly converted to a private institution,” the lawyers stated.
Thabela referred questions to ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro who said the residents had misdirected their concerns.
“The residents have threatened to take the legal route for redress,” Ndoro said.
“The ministry will then allow the court process to take precedence and wait for the court determination on the matter for us to intervene.”
Earlier this month, residents gathered at the school in protest over privatisation of the school and barred their children from attending lessons.