TEACH­ERS DEFY, WARN GOVT

Observer on Saturday - - News - Sto­ries By Starsky Mkhonta

Govern­ment should know that fighting teach­ers is not dif­fer­ent from fighting the na­tion or the pop­u­lace and that is very dan­ger­ous.”

Swazi­land Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Teach­ers (SNAT) has stated that it was aware of all the tactics govern­ment was us­ing to silent them.

Jus­tice Dlamini, who was the pro­gramme di­rec­tor dur­ing the Teach­ers Day cel­e­bra­tions held at King Sob­huza II Me­mo­rial Sta­dium in Nh­langano, yes­ter­day said de­spite be­ing mold­ers and shapers of so­ci­ety, teach­ers are be­ing treated like out­casts in the King­dom.

SNAT went ahead to cel­e­brate the World Teach­ers Day de­spite govern­ment through the Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion Dr Sibongile Mtshali hav­ing ad­vised the or­gan­i­sa­tion to use an­other day (prefer­able a week­end) as yes­ter­day was a school day and teach­ers were sup­posed to be in class.

Dlamini said they were not go­ing to be si­lenced when de­mand­ing what they are rightly en­ti­tled to as teach­ers.

“We are con­sid­ered a threat when we are not.

Re­quest

When we re­quest what we feel we de­serve, we are called this and that. They treat us with con­tempt and they think this is go­ing to make us de­velop weak knees. They hate us with pas­sion and this is the rea­son we are even as­saulted when we embark on a peace­ful protest. It should be clear and known that those fighting teach­ers are fighting the pop­u­lace,” said Dlamini.

Pat Mamba who rep­re­sented the Trade Union Congress of Swazi­land (TUCOSWA) con­demned the way govern­ment was treat­ing teach­ers and the civil ser­vants in gen­eral. He said govern­ment does not take civil ser­vants se­ri­ous in their de­mand for a 6.5 per cent Cost of Liv­ing Ad­just­ment.

He said in­stead govern­ment de­cided to ne­go­ti­ate in bad faith.

“When teach­ers or civil ser­vants start to make noise about what they de­serve, govern­ment makes all means to have us si­lenced. When we get granted per­mis­sion to stage protest matches and law­ful strike ac­tion, govern­ment de­cides to set the se­cu­rity agen­cies against us. This govern­ment does not re­spect even court rul­ings.

The same govern­ment which should lead the way by re­spect­ing court rul­ings, it fails to do that and de­fies courts of the land,” said Mamba.

Mamba then thanked SNAT for be­ing a loyal and hon­est af­fil­i­ate as it was an or­gan­i­sa­tion in good stand­ing and TUCOSWA con­sid­ered the or­gan­i­sa­tion as a pil­lar to it (TUCOSWA).

The Teach­ers Day was dom­i­nated by mostly toy-toy and singing of po­lit­i­cal songs.

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