SOUTHERN Province Minister Edify Hamukale has directed education authorities in the province to ensure a primary and secondary school built by Munali Nickel Mine in Mazabuka becomes fully operational as soon as possible.
Dr Hamukale says it is disturbing that Munsangu School which was handed over to Government 2015 is still not fully operational despite the high demand for primary and secondary education by the community that was resettled in Mugoto area to pave way for mining activities at Munali Nickel.
He says it is ironical that while the mine has put up ultra-modern infrastructure for both primary and secondary school including teachers’ houses, the ministry of general education has failed to deploy teachers.
The minister was speaking yesterday when he visited the institution on a fact finding mission following widespread complaints from the local community.
Dr Hamukale who was accompanied by provincial permanent secretary Sibanze Simuchoba and district commissioner Jane Chirwa said it is disappointing that infrastructure meant to benefit the local community who were relocated to pave way for mining activities is turning into a white elephant.
“This is extremely disappointing that two years after being handed over to government, the school is still not operational when children are supposed to benefit from this infrastructure,” he said. “We cannot allow this community to suffer like this.”
District commissioner Jane Chirwa informed the minister that the institution was not operational because it lacked a staff establishment and desks to facilitate the deployment of teaching staff.
Dr Hamukale directed the provincial permanent secretary to immediately liaise with his counterpart at the ministry of general education to ensure the school becomes operational as soon as possible.
Mine general manager Mathew Banda explained the ministry of general education has failed to honour the agreement with the mine to provide staff to be placed on government pay roll and furniture to the new school.
School parent teacher association Lawrence Muganini appealed to the provincial minister to come to the aid of the Mugoto community so that the school is functional.