HARARE – The High Court has issued an order to attach the scheduled properties of St Catherine’s Zimcare Trust School over a $17 000 debt.
The school caters for mentally-challenged pupils.
The court issued the order after the Newlands-based charity failed to respond to a show-cause notice in a petition filed by workers for the recovery of $17 000 from the trust.
The school had been given up to today to pay $17 000, failure of which the messenger of court will seize furniture, computers, the school master’s B16000 truck and the headmistress’ furniture to recover the $17 000 outstanding payment to non-teaching staff.
In a letter addressed to parents, Tembo Burawadi, chairperson of the School Development Committee, confirmed the school had a labour dispute that was going to result in the seizure of property.
Burawadi said following an emergency general meeting held on Thursday last week, workers were consulted on the way forward. Twelve workers were in favour of the seizure while seven were against it.
Burawadi said the dispute with non-teaching staff dates back to 2011.
“The National Employment Council ordered the increase of salaries twice since then and we could not effect the changes,” Burawadi said.
“We could not manage to pay our staff that much and now the dispute has reached this level.”
The school has 104 children that are mentally-challenged. Some of the children are day scholars while the rest are in boarding school. Day school fees are reportedly pegged at $335 a-month covering food, transport and salaries for non-teaching staff.
Eve Mazuwa, a mother with a child enrolled at the school, said she was uncertain of her child’s future.
“This is very sad,” she said. “I don’t know what will happen to my child. He was receiving education for the mentally challenged and he seemed to be coping.”
Zimcare Trust says it seeks to educate and care for persons with intellectual challenges through offering them basic functional literacy and numeracy skills, rehabilitation, habilitation, technical-vocational skills, daily living skills, psycho-social support, speech therapy, medication, hydro therapy, stimulation and sporting activities, among others.
These services are provided by specialist teachers, medical personnel including nurses and nurse aides, technical instructors and care givers.