MISSING E500 000 SCHOOL FEES CHEQUE CAUSES FURORE
Aprimary schoolboy dropped out of school and now looks after cattle to raise fees despite that some philanthropist allegedly donated USD35 000 to see him through school and tertiary education. The former Sidloko Primary principal, Jacob Mashaba says it is all madness that he could not have been accountable for such a huge amount of money, all he remembers is that he misplaced a cheque of a paltry USD135.
Now Matobhi Mahlalela says she had to ‘donate’ her child to a stranger on the South African side of the Lomahasha border fence just to be able to raise enough money for him to return to school, he heads cattle after school.
It all started when a church grouping distributed sealed gifts to the children over four years ago and her son, Zweli Mtsetfwa, was the lucky one who received a cheque in the foreign currency. She says other children got clothing, dolls while others received washing kits, a fact Mashaba does not dispute. She says she took it to other villagers where she worked to interpret the piece of paper and she was told that it was written USD 35 000 but that it was addressed to the school and therefore the old woman should take it there for deposit and processing.
She says time elapsed and she was having difficulty getting feedback from the principal and it was then that she reported the matter to the Lomahasha police. For several months, says Matobhi, the principal kept telling police that he had misplaced the cheque and was still looking for it.
“We could not take up the matter with the new principal because we felt he would tell us he knew nothing about it. We also had no records in possession that it was received by the school.” Matobhi adds that a Dlamini female officer now transferred to Siteki, was of assistance since she had been following the matter since it was reported over four years ago. “We are destitute parents, his father fell off a scaffolding and is disabled while I’m also sickly and living with another man who is not his father. I hoped the money would see the child through education and he would in turn look after us.” The boy’s sibling is also being taken care of by a disabled old woman who lost both her legs and through the disability grants she is able to keep fires burning.
On the other hand Matobhi earns E200 per month where she works on irregular intervals at one of the agencies near the border.
I WANT MY MONEY: Matobhi Mahlalela will not rest until she gets justice for what she believes was a major turnaround for her child when he got a USD35 000 cheque from benevolent donors that later disappeared.
FUTURE LEADERS: Sidloko Primary School children headed to their respective homes.