Residents Resist ‘Fraudulent’ Privatisation Of Southlea Park School

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By Alois Vinga

RESIDENTS in Harare’s Southlea Park suburb have petitioned government and Odar Housing Development Consortium against ongoing attempts by authorities to “fraudulently” pass on Southlea Park Primary School to an undisclosed private suitor.

The developments were prompted by the education ministry’s recent dispatching of representatives to the school with plans to transfer the existing teaching staff to other learning institutions while paving way for the controversial take-over.

But residents, who are represented by Alex Majachani of Alex F & Associates Attorneys, have confronted ministry permanent secretary and the consortium’s chairperson with a seven-day ultimatum to abandon the process of face legal action.

Residents are coalescing under the Southlea Park Residents Association.

“We have been instructed by our clients to demand, as we hereby do, that your ministry complies with this letter and our demand herein falling which we have strict instructions to seek legal redress without further notice to you unless the following is duly observed and complied with.

“That you shall undertake in writing that within seven days of this letter, you shall forthwith refrain from transferring any teacher or teaching staff at the school to any other location in order to bless a clear fraud and violation of our clients’ rights to privatisation of a publicly owned school,” Majachani said.

Authorities were also ordered to refute and or recall any authorisation to any party or entity to operate Southlea Park Primary School as a privately owned school and to disclose the “ghost” owner within seven days of the letter.

Majachani argued the school could not be converted into a private learning institution as it was established through the efforts of residents with parties agreeing it shall operate as a government or council school.

He insisted the decision to convert the school was not agreed to by the owners of the school who are the residents within the community.

“Needless to emphasise that the school in question must of necessity remain a public school having been established through the sweat and contributions of the residents who constitute the beneficiaries of the so-called Odar Housing Development Consortium which facilitated the acquisition of the Southlea Park residential stands,” he said.

Residents claimed that in 2014, a consortium comprising some 60 Zimbabwean farmland, industrial and or entities was established with the objective of developing the Odar farmland into residential, industrial and or commercial stands and set up public facilities such as a primary school.