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

Sunday Observer - - NEWS - BY FOR­TUNE NDLANGAMANDLA

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.

In­ten­tion

“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.

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