Michael Magoronga Midlands Correspondent
Disgruntled parents of children at Goldridge College, an upmarket private college in Kwekwe, are suing the school for allegedly demanding tuition fees and outstanding balances in United State Dollars (USD) despite Government abolishing the use of the multi-currency regime.
In their application to the High Court, the parents Stanley Makunde, Tichafa Chiwanza and Livious Mukwiri, accused the school and its Board of Governors of defying a Government directive by continuing to demand payment in United States dollars.
The college is allegedly asking parents whose children have been offered Form One places next year to pay US$500 in Development levies.
The parents alleged that the children whose parents were defaulting were being sent home by the school authorities.
“The respondents denied the applicant’s children access to the school insisting on payment of fees exclusively in USD. All our efforts to engage the respondents have been to no avail and this has prompted us to make this application for the court to interrogate the legality of the respondent’s conduct,” read part of the application.
“The demand of fees exclusively in United State dollars is unjust, unlawful and militates against Government’s policy and the monetary policy which categorically stated that the currency of reference for all transactions in the country shall be RTGs.”
They also argued that the move by college was in defiance of the circular by Primary and Secondary Education Minister (Prof Paul Mavima) ordering schools to stop demanding fees in a specific currency.
The school’s demands for settlement of outstanding fees was contained in a circular, signed by the accountant only identified as Marufu that was sent out to parents on July 22.
“Please be advised that the RBZ has given a greenlight for the Banks to accept foreign cash deposits from both individuals and corporates on a no question asked basis with immediate effect. Currently there is no set deadline for accepting the said foreign currency cash deposits. Thus for those with USD outstanding fees balances, kindly deposit the USD amount in our Nedbank Nostro Account. Please note that we are no longer using the process of rating,” wrote Mr Marufu.
The headmaster Mr Lovemore Mashanda, however, denied that the college was demanding fees in USD.
“I don’t know your source, but go back and tell your sources that there is nothing like that happening at the college. I am not aware of anyone who was made to pay in USD, if ever it happened why did that person rush to the media instead of coming to us. In as much as I am concerned, we have since moved to use of RTGs in line with the government directive,” fumed Mr. Mashanda.
Asked on the origins of the circular demanding payment in US dollars, Mr Mashanda, chose to be coy.
“I don’t even know where you got those papers. Go and ask whoever gave you the papers, I know nothing about that,” he said.