Some parents and guardians in Bulawayo are up in arms with some school authorities in the country's second largest city who continue to demand feeding levy when their children were no longer being provided with any food within the concerned schools.
As a hunger mitigation measure at primary schools, government last year introduced the schools feeding programmes (SFPs).
Under the programme, the students were provided with lunch.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools have stopped providing the food but however, they continue charging the parents the food levy.
Parents who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com said the schools were stealing their hard-earned monies through the dishonest practice.
Said one concerned parent on condition of anonymity, "I paid RTGS1000 feeding levy for my two children at my school.
"I tried to enquire the rationale behind paying the levy when the children are not eating anything, but I did not get any satisfactory explanation from the school.
"I feel robbed of my hard-earned money because I am paying for a service which my child is not receiving."
Another parent who also refused to be named for fear of jeopardising her child's relationship with the school said he also grudgingly paid for the feeding levy at a named government school where her six-year-old daughter learnt.
"From the word go, I was against the idea of forcing parents to pay this feeding levy because some of us provide adequate food for our children when they go to school.
"I was also concerned about the conditions in which the food was prepared and I told my daughter not to eat the food.
"Now, why would schools continue to force us to pay the levy when the programme has been stopped. Surely, we need some answers from the relevant authorities," said the parent.
When reached for comment, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education said it was illegal for the schools to charge the feeding levy.
"It is illegal to charge any feeding levy when the learners are not being fed anything at the school.
"We appreciate any member of the society who will bring the schools to our attention so that we will be able to deal with it and institute remedial action," said Taungana Ndoro, the Ministry 's Director of Communications and Advocacy in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com.