PLATINUM group metals miners Zimplats has handed over two classroom blocks and ablution facilities to authorities at Turf Primary School in Mhondoro Ngezi district.
The facilities were constructed at a cost of US$380 000 as part of Zimplats’ efforts to decongest the elementary school.
They were officially handed over to the Mhondoro Ngezi Rural District Council by Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs and Devolution minister Marian Chombo on Monday.
In her speech, Chombo said the Turf Town community had been transformed into a brimming metropolis, and a hive of economic activity after serving as a cattle ranch since Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980.
“Over the years, Turf Town’s population has grown beyond our imagination. When the country gained independence in 1980, this vast area was a cattle ranch.
“By the 1990s, it had been turned into a mining compound — a far cry from what it is now. Fast-forward to today, Turf Town has been transformed into a brimming metropolis, and a hive of economic activity.
“Behind this metamorphosis is largely Zimplats, which has been implementing life-changing projects in this town. As with any growth in population, the educational facilities in Turf Town are struggling to cope with demand.
“Turf Primary School has been no exception despite the best efforts of the local authority, represented here by its chairman and chief executive.”
The school has an enrolment of about 3 000 pupils from the fast-growing Turf Town.
However, due to inadequate infrastructure, some of the pupils have been learning under harsh conditions, drawing the attention and prompting the intervention of Zimplats.
Zimplats chief executive, Alex Mhembere, said they wanted to create a better future for learners and the community by investing in the education sector.
“For us at Zimplats, creating social impact among our stakeholders is integral to the way in which we do business. We focus on four main pillars namely: Education and skills development, community well-being, local enterprise development and infrastructure development,” Mhembere said.
“This will go a long way in improving the teacher-to-student-ratio from an average of 1:55 to 1:40 in what could also enhance the learning environment and pass rates.”
Several schools in the Mhondoro-Ngezi and Chegutu districts have also benefitted from projects initiated by Zimplats over the years.
These include St Michaels, David Guzuzu, Rutara Primary, Saruwe Primary, Marshal Hartley, Saruwe Secondary, Wanganui Primary and Wanganui Secondary.