Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Reporter
Government is pleading with schools to accept children of war veterans and other eligible beneficiaries saying the delay in the processing of the fees was due to slow money transfer systems at the banks. Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Ex-Political Detainees and Restrictees Minister Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube yesterday told The Herald that all the fees had been disbursed, but the banking problems were delaying the process.
“We have disbursed all the fees, but because of the problems in the banks, they are not yet accessible. “Banks are only using RTGS and it takes donkey years before it reflects. “We have processed payments for all the eligible students that we pay for,” said Minister Dube.
He assured school heads that the money was paid and urged them to be patient and accommodate the beneficiaries in their respective schools. “We are pleading with schools not to turn the children away because the money is already there,” said Minister Dube.
Individual bank account holders were getting a paltry $200 per day due to the current cash shortage that has hit the country. Some were opting for bank transfer systems as they could not raise the required amounts for boarding schools.
Schools open today straight from a public holiday during which banks were closed. Some boarding schools were yesterday turning away pupils for non-payment of fees ahead of today’s opening of the second school term.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora told the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association annual conference that ended in Victoria Falls on Saturday that boarding schools can bar pupils from entering their premises if they have not paid fees for the term.
The minister said the policy excluded day schools and only boarding schools were mandated to exclude pupils as they require the money for their day-to-day operations. In Bulawayo, pupils with no proof of payment were being turned away from buses transporting them from the City Hall car park to their respective schools.
Some schools wanted pupils to have paid at least three quarters of the fees, with pupils being admitted on condition that their parents would have signed affidavits stating that the remaining fees would be paid by month-end.
Some parents said the ongoing cash shortage and the late payment of salaries by some companies were making it difficult for them to settle arrears. Early last month banks introduced stringent cash management systems including limiting maximum cash withdrawals to $200 per transaction and switching off some of their ATMs following the liquidity crisis that hit the market.
ZimSwitch facility was dis-abled and customers were unable to receive cash backs from some supermarkets. Tobacco farmers were not left out in the crisis because they were also unable to access their money after selling the crop.
Some ATMs were off and they were only allowed to withdraw limited amounts from banking halls. People have been complaining of the cash challenges with some saying the RTGS system was slow and was negatively affecting business.