By Anyway Yotamu
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has pledged to look into the unjustified increase in school fees saying his government will not allow school authorities to increase school fees as the school term is set to begin on the 14th of January 2020. The President was addressing Kuwadzana residents in Harare on Friday 3 January 2020 where he launched the “clean up and beyond campaign” programme at Kuwadzana 2 Shopping Centre.
Kuwadzana residents had an opportunity to voice their grievances to the President during his address after the cleanup exercise. Residents raised issues of school fees hike, refusal of coins by service providers and increase in council rates.
The government is on record saying schools should not increase fees by more than 20 percent without government approval while charging in foreign currency is illegal. This was in December last year by the then Acting Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon Kirsty Coventry who noted that it is also an offence for schools to sell uniforms or force parents to buy them at selected stores.
However, some government and mission boarding schools have already increased fees beyond the 20 percent, especially for pupils starting Form One, with some charging between ZWL$12 000 and ZWL$34 000. Some elite private schools are charging their fees in foreign currency or in local currency at the prevailing inter-bank rate. This had seen some schools charging fees as high as ZWL$90 000.
President Mnangagwa said “coins are a legal tender and retailers should not refuse them as a medium of exchange”.
In his address, President Mnangagwa reiterated that Zimbabwe will not go back to the multi-currency system adding that Zimbabweans must be proud to use their own currency as it signifies sovereignty.
The national cleanup programme will see the campaign going beyond the general environment cleaning to focus on illegal dumpsites countrywide.
President Mnangagwa said dumpsites should be approved by town and city councils from which they collect the litter to where it is disposed of or recycled.
The first clean-up campaign of this year is being held under the theme “zero tolerance to litter, my environment, my pride”.
The national clean up campaign programme was launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on the 5th of December 2018. In other parts of the country, the national clean-up exercise was conducted in various places. The office of the Vice President, Rtd Gen Constantino Chiwenga held a clean up campaign at Mawambo shopping centre in Ruwa.
Vice President Chiwenga said government is targeting to phase out the use of plastic packaging material by the end of the year as part of dealing with plastic pollution in the country.
He said this in a speech read of his behalf by Major General Godfrey Chanakira, the Permanent Secretary in his office.
Vice President, Kembo Mohadi cleaned environs at Rhodesville shopping centre in Harare. He challenged local authorities to take full control of the national clean-up campaign and complement government’s efforts by providing waste disposal facilities in public places to ensure the country has sustainable environmental management and waste disposal systems.
The First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, ministers Perrance Shiri, Kazembe Kazembe and Monica Mavhunga led a cleanup campaign along the Harare-Mazowe highway in which community members also joined in. Amai Mnangagwa called for the adoption of traditional shopping baskets to reduce the use of plastic bags and promote a clean environment.