Wednesday, 18 July 2018

PRIVATE SCHOOL IN LIMBO AS SON SEEKS TO EVICT MOTHER

A FAMILY-owned private school in Gweru, Lingfield Academy, is facing imminent collapse after parents threatened to pull out their children over poor results and learning conditions, reportedly caused by intermittent fights and squabbles over the control of the school by family members.

So nasty is the fight over the upmarket school between the mother, father and children that the couple’s son, Mr Prince Mabandla, has approached the courts in a desperate bid to elbow out his mother from the school, which is the sole family business.

Prince has allegedly hired bouncers to keep his parents off the premises.
The school, which is being run at the family’s place of residence, was reportedly established by the parents, Mr Morton Mabandla and wife Stella, who are the board of trustee’s chairperson and secretary respectively with Prince and his two siblings completing the board of trustees as beneficiaries.

The Chronicle is in possession of a court application by Prince that seeks to bar his mother from accessing the school premises.

According to information gathered, Mr and Mrs Mabandla are based in the United Kingdom while their children, including the estranged son, Prince, are domiciled in the United States of America.

The family, however, still uses the school premises situated along the Gweru-Mvuma road as their local residence.

Sources close to the development said Mrs Mabandla recently flew into the country and got the shock of her life when she was handed a court order barring her from accessing the property.
According to court papers, the school head, Mr Musa Chibi, applied for a court interdict that seeks to bar Mrs Mabandla from entering the school premises on instructions from Prince.

“The academy comprises a high school, a primary school and an affiliated university and all facilities are legally registered. All the institutions are under the direct control of the chairperson, Mr Prince Mabandla from whom I derive authority and instructions to file this affidavit,” read part of the application.

The affidavit, which the lawyers said was haphazardly done, contradicts itself as the son desperately seeks to evict his mother who is a member of the board of trustees from the family business. The matter is set to be heard on August 1, 2018.

“This application seeks an order barring the respondent from entering the school premises and interfering in the affairs of the institution,” reads part of the founding affidavit.
Sources said the school was performing badly and was being run like a tuck-shop with no professionalism.

They said no one was overseeing the day-to- day running of the school with the board of directors giving conflicting orders from their foreign bases over the phone.

“There is gross mismanagement and embezzlement of funds. Children are not being taken care of with the school owners tussling and one wonders how parents expect their children to be in safe hands under such circumstances,” said a source at the school.

The source said the private educational institution was in dire financial straits and was debt-ridden with teachers having last been paid in April.

“We only have about 70 pupils both primary and high school because some parents are pulling out their children. We, however, have the capacity to have over 400 pupils,” said the source.

The school head, Mr Chibi, declined to comment referring questions to Prince who confirmed from his US base that the school was facing challenges.
He also confirmed having sought a court interdict barring his mother from entering the school premises.

“We have had problems with my mother who was interfering with the day-to-day running of the school for a long time so I had to step in. I was given the powers to be the chairperson of that school by my father so I had to make a bold decision to save the school from collapse,” Prince said. Chronicle

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