Bulawayo City Council (BCC) last week resolved to oppose the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture directive to bar churches from using schools for their service.
BCC had received a circular from the ministry barring churches from using schools for fear of health hazards at the learning institutions.
According to BCC, most councillors were of the view the directive by the ministry was counter-productive in that if churches were denied access to schools, they would resort to open air worship where they would use bushes for ablution purposes and spread diseases.
Ward 21 councillor Reuben Matengu said until the local authority was able to provide land to churches, they should allow them to use schools.
“Let’s engage the Ministry of Education to allow the churches to use schools. Schools are getting money because these churches are not using the classrooms for free,” he said.
Luveve councillor Isaac Mabaleka said as the local authority, they had agreed to engage the government on the ministry’s ban.
“We decided that we will return to the government and ask them to lift the ban. We realised that if we are chasing them from the bushes, they had better use schools for the moment. There are tall trees in these schools such that those that don’t want a roof on their heads when they worship can do so under those trees. At least they would have access to toilets,” he said.
Mayor Thaba Moyo said they would press ahead with their resolution to avail schools to churches.
“The issue of open air worshipping is an issue that has been there for some time now. We have got our own schools and we can allow those people to use them, while we wait for clearance from the government to use government schools.
We find that (allowing churches to use schools) as a solution. Unless the government can give an explanation as to what they will do with these open air worshippers, we will stick to our decision,” he said.