Melbourne Primary School in Tynwald North has come under scrutiny for failing to fence off its swimming pool construction site. The swimming pool has been under construction since January this year and is a concern for surrounding residents who fear for the safety of the pupils.
A resident in the area complained to Harare West Member of Parliament, Honourable Jessie Majome who prompted the school to cordon off the pool, but to no avail. According to Majome, empty promises were made by the school authorities to take action and six months later nothing has been done. Majome has since written an open letter to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Honourable Lazarus Dokora requesting ministry action.
Majome told Harare News, “I saw that the under-construction pool had no barrier to stop people, especially children, from falling into the crater which has dangerously protruding steel spikes. I urged the school authorities to place a barrier around the pool and they made an unhelpful and unfulfilled undertaking that bunting would be erected around the hole,” said Majome. Unfortunately, the school has not taken any action to date.
What makes this open crater more dangerous is its location near a borehole used by residents who fetch water from the school. Majome said she approached Minister Dokora with the issue after parliament last month. Dokora responded by pointing out that Majome should not have taken up the issue without the Ministry’s authority. He further commented that Majome should be grateful to the school which supplies water for the community while pointing out that the MP has not provided the area with a borehole. “He takes issue with my visiting the school without Ministry authority and retorts that because I have not provided a borehole to the community (which is not my function) I should be grateful the school [provides] water to the community.”
According to Majome, residents of the area are contemplating legal action. A resident responded to her open letter by questioning why the school authorities were refusing to cooperate. One parent, Johannes Govora, said, “I think that a 30 metre roll of diamond mesh wire that is 1.8 metres tall costs around $80. For a private school that is not a large amount of money. I think it’s not about the lack of resources but mere stubbornness.”
Some parents have resorted to escorting their children to and from school to minimise the danger of their children being near the open, excavated site. Efforts by Harare News to get a comment from the school headmaster, Mr Musara, were unsuccessful.
Image: Harare West MP Jessie Majome standing next to the unprotected pool site at Melbourne Primary School.