COPS ARREST SNAT LEADERS
They were attending a strike preparatory meeting They face jaywalking, obstruction of police on duty as well as resisting arrest charges
The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) suspects foul play over the arrest of its two leaders who were attending the organisation’s preparatory meeting on Friday.
SNAT leadership has been meeting to deliberate a strategy that would be used during the January 28 strike where all civil servants are expected to protest as they demand the cost of living adjustment (CoLA) from government.
The two members who were arrested are Big Bend Branch SNAT Vice Chairperson Mcolisi Ngcamphalala and the branch’s Secretary General (SG) Njabulo Dlamini.
They were arrested at around 10:45am and are expected to make a court appearance tomorrow.
Ngcamphalala and Dlamini were slapped with three charges which are; jaywalking, obstruction of police on duty as well as resisting arrest.
The duo was arrested in Manzini on their way to attend a teachers’ meeting in their capacity as Big Bend SNAT branch leaders. It is said that when they were arrested, they were in the company of a large group which was reportedly crossing the road legally.
However, the police are said to have only arrested Ngcamphalala and Dlamini and let everyone else leave. The two are said to have tried to reason with the police, however, they were allegedly threatened with violence and a backup of over 10 police officers stormed the scene.
The two leaders were then allegedly dragged into a police van. An attorney is said to have swiftly come and negotiated that the two should not be kept in custody.
The arrest and the charges were confirmed by SNAT President Mbongwa Dlamini in an interview yesterday. President Dlamini confirmed public speculations that the leaders’ arrest was an alleged ploy by the police to disturb the on-going preparatory meetings.
“In fact, it is obvious that the intention to arrest the leaders is to disorganise the union. This is because the leaders never jaywalked, however, the police’s argument was that the traffic light did not permit them to cross at that moment,” the president explained.
He questioned why the police only arrested the two if the whole group jaywalked. The president went on to state that the duo would appear in court tomorrow to respond to the charges.
When asked on how close was SNAT with finalising their January 2019 strike strategy, the president said they were still working on it. He said if all goes well, it would be divulged on Tuesday during a press conference.
On the other hand, Chief Police Information and Communications Officer ( CPICO) Superintendent Phindile Vilakati said police were not aware of any SNAT members who were arrested.
She said police arrested jay walkers during an operation near the Manzini Market towards the Manzini Library.
Vilakati stated that during the operation, about 14 jaywalkers were arrested within a short period time.
“All the jaywalkers paid admission of guilt fines, only one refused to pay and his companion obstructed the arrest. The two are expected to make a court appearance but I can’t reveal their names at this stage as they have not been to court,” Vilakati explained.
She emphasised that police were not aware of any SNAT members during the operation.