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Tempers flare at school meeting over missing US$150

by Staff reporter
25 Jan 2024 at 04:16hrs | Views
TEMPERS flared during a meeting on Monday involving parents and guardians of learners at Lukhanyiso Primary School in Bulawayo's Mpopoma suburb after it emerged that the school authorities clandestinely advanced a loan of US$150 debited from the institution's General Purpose Fund (GPF) account.

The meeting had primarily been convened to address some burning issues at the school, which included clarity on the position of learners who are under the Government's Basic Education Assessment Module (BEAM) programme.

This was after the school's deputy headmistress Mrs Sikhangeleni Moyo had announced last year in December that the school would not be accepting learners under BEAM starting this year.

Parents directed their anger on Mrs Moyo after the school head, Mr Aaron Mhango told the meeting that his deputy had misdirected herself as there was no official communication from the ministry.

After a lengthy and tension-filled discussion on the matter, temperatures reached boiling point when a parent asked if the money which was loaned to a member of the School Development Committee (SDC), Mr Davison Chikaka had been paid back.

Stunned parents demanded to know why the school authorities decided to withdraw school funds without consultations.

"I learnt that there was an agreement which was signed as proof that money had been learnt to Mr Chikaka, but when I asked for that agreement, no one from the school administration was willing to avail it until I got the document from Mr Chikaka," said SDC chairperson Mr Emmanuel Shoko.

"I asked both the headmaster and his deputy why I was not consulted let alone append my signature for the money, but I was told that GPF doesn't require a signature of an SDC member."

Mr Shoko produced the agreement document and gave it to the parents.

The document, which Chronicle is in possession of, reads: "Agreement between Lukhanyiso GPF and D Chikaka (SDC treasurer) ID No 70-110458T-70. D Chikaka was loaned US$150 by Lukhanyiso Primary School GPF on 17/04/2023. He will pay back on 07/05/2023."

The document contains the signatures of Mr Chikaka, the school headmaster, his deputy and the school bursar, one B Shoko. "Despite the illegality of this whole transaction, Mr Chikaka did not honour his contract as he only paid back the money in December, which was eight months later. However, what is strange about this whole thing is that Mr Chikaka said he was never given cash," said the SDC chairperson.

"He claimed to have received 10 crates of tomatoes valued at US$150. The question now is where did the US$150 which was withdrawn from school funds go?"

Mr Chikaka confessed before the parents that he only received 10 crates, not the money.

Said a parent: "Government must intervene and if indeed the money can be withdrawn just like that, it shows that this could be the tip of the iceberg. There could be more happening."

This is not the first time that Lukhanyiso Primary School has been caught in controversy after a sub-standard bus was purchased last year prompting the SDC to demand a probe into the matter.

Source - The Chronicle