A Harare-based engineering company and Lukhanyiso Primary School in Bulawayo are in a stand-off with the former refusing to release a 66-seater bus bought by the school.
Willovale Vehicle Body Engineering wants the school authorities to issue a public apology for having claimed that the company sold them a second-hand bus as a brand new vehicle.
The dispute resulted in the then headmaster Thintitha Mpofu and School Development Committee Phethengani Nyoni being arrested after they were reported to the police by parents.
Following the duo’s arrest, parents also set up an ad hoc committee chaired by Mzilikazi district schools inspector Zanele Muyambo.
In both instances, Messrs Mpofu and Nyoni were cleared. However, Willovale Vehicle Body Engineering felt that their image was tarnished following the unsubstantiated allegations.
On Friday parents met school authorities and resolved that the school should take delivery of the bus which was returned to the company in 2019.
The company has however said it can only deliver the bus after the parents make a public apology.
Company managing director Silvester Matambo said the bus had a 36 months guarantee just like all buses sold to other schools and institutions.
He said the bus will not leave their workshop until there is a written apology from the school.
“One thing to note is that the bus had a guarantee of 36 months. The problem with Lukhanyiso was that parents were misled by someone in the school management that some bus funds were embezzled leading to internal squabbles,” said Matambo.
He said when the bus was delivered to the company in March 2019 for routine servicing, the company was later informed that the parents no longer wanted the bus.
“The bus has been parked at our workshop since that time. We need a written apology from the SDC for us to release the bus,” said Matambo.
He said their reputation was at stake following the baseless allegations.
“The social media was abuzz with stories which tarnished our image following this dispute with the school authorities,” said Matambo.
He said when the school bought the bus for $120 000, the company made it clear that it was a refurbished vehicle not a brand new one. Chronicle
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