MARANGE: Several pupils from some 27 schools in the diamond-rich Chiadzwa area have dropped out of school due to the non-payment of fees by gem miner Marange Resources.
Others have been forced to resort to menial jobs to raise fees, a development that is adversely impacting their studies, according to a local civic organisation.
This crisis was revealed at a meeting recently convened by the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA) to discuss issues affecting communities around Chiadzwa.
Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT) chair, Lovemore Mukwada said most children in the area have missed lessons this term due to the non-payment of fees by Marange Resources.
“We don’t know what is happening because Marange Resources just stopped paying fees and our children are not going to school,” Mukwada said.
“Instead of focusing on their education they (pupils) are doing menial jobs such as brick moulding and firewood cutting to raise school fees. It’s a pity.”
He added: “These children are our future leaders; they need to be educated.
“We cannot have a situation where children spend time moulding brings instead of focusing on their education. We have the resource but our children cannot go to school.”
A Marange Resources official who attended the meeting confirmed the problem but would not give more details, saying she was not at liberty to discuss the matter with the media.
The official however said “something” was being done by company management to resolve the problem.
“The matter is being addressed at managerial level. We are working on it,” said the official-New Zimbabwe.com.