Vusumuzi Dube, Municipal Reporter
SQUATTERS at Ngozi Mine in Bulawayo have established an illegal school within the camp as they shun formal education arguing that not only is it expensive but their children are also subjected to stereotyping within formal schools.
The illegal school is complete with a school building, improvised teachers, electricity connections and a makeshift library has been established to cater for the plus 300 pupils who are all of primary school going ages.
The matter initially emerged during last Wednesday’s full council meeting where it was revealed that the squatters are now so daring that they have now established a fully functional society after the operation of this school.
It was revealed that investigations had shown that in some cases the squatters owned houses but preferred to rent them out while they opted to squat.
Ward Two Councillor, Sithabile Mataka-Moyo revealed that there were squatters who were cropping up in her ward, with their camps being located close to residential houses.
“The Acting Director of Housing and Community Services, Mr Dictor Khumalo advised that Ngozi Mine and Killarney squatters were a challenge. Even if they were removed from the areas they usually returned within a short space of time. Some of them own houses which they rent out elsewhere preferring to squat. At Ngozi Mine an illegal school had now been developed. Rangers would be sent to the recently established illegal squatter areas,” reads the report.
According to the council’s records Ngozi Mine is an old settlement that is known to have been established in the 1990s with the dwellers having been attracted by scavenging at the Richmond municipal dump site.
In Killarney, the slum settlement was established a long time back with over 100 units which are scattered around the bush opposite Killarney to the east. A visit to Ngozi Mine squatter camp last Friday revealed that indeed the squatters were providing their children “home” schooling as they claimed they could not afford formal education.
They claimed that to them this was more of home and they did not envisage moving out any time soon hence the need to provide their children with some form of education. The school has reportedly been in operation for the past two years with education authorities doing nothing to either shut it down or provide some form of assistance as the “teachers” are also parent squatters who are not qualified to teach.
In an interview, one of the teachers claimed that they had realised that their children were shunning formal education because of abuse they were allegedly facing at the formal schools.
“When our children go to these formal schools they are labelled as Ngozi Mine children, they are even made to sit