HARARE High Court Judge Justice Gladys Mhuri has stopped Harare Polytechnic College from demanding payment of tuition fees and other levies exclusively in United States dollars.
In a judgment handed down on Monday 29 January 2024, Justice Mhuri restrained and interdicted Harare Polytechnic College from demanding and charging tuition fees and levies due solely in United States dollars from students.
Justice Mhuri ordered Harare Polytechnic College to accept payment for tuition fees and any other levies or payments due from students in RTGS at the prevailing interbank rate.
Justice Mhuri’s order came after Valentine Ziko, a student at Harare Polytechnic College hauled the learning institution to court challenging its unlawful and illegal demand.
In an application, which was filed on Friday 25 January 2024 by Ziko, who was represented by Kossam Ncube of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the electrical power engineering student, protested against Harare Polytechnic College’s decision to demand payment of tuition fees from students exclusively in United States dollars arguing that the request was illegal and in violation of section 7(1) of the Exchange Control (Exclusive Use of Zimbabwean Dollar for Domestic Transactions) Regulations 2019 S.I 212 of 2019 as amended by section 2 of the Exchange Control ((Exclusive Use of Zimbabwean Dollar for Domestic Transactions) Regulations 2020 (No.3) S.I 185 of 2020.
Harare Polytechnic College had on 12 January 2024 issued a Circular wherein it pegged tuition, catering and accommodation fees to be paid by students for the first semester, which commenced this month, exclusively in United States dollars, and only provided a United States dollar denominated account and was not accepting payments in RTGS, a demand which was contrary to Zimbabwean law.
Ziko also argued that the demand by Harare Polytechnic College was illegal and in violation of section 3(1) (a) of the Administrative Justice Act as it was unlawful, unfair and unreasonable.
The students contended that the Circular issued by Harare Polytechnic College was in direct violation of a directive issued on 2 January 2024 by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development directing polytechnic colleges, colleges and industrial training colleges to accept tuition fees and other levies in RTGS equivalent at the inter-bank rate.
Apart from Harare Polytechnic College, Ziko cited Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira as a respondent to the application.
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