analysisBy Richard Lee
Rapidly losing the battle in the court of public opinion, the Swaziland government has now lost a critical battle in a court of law.
On Friday, the Industrial Court in Mbabane ruled in favour of the Swaziland National Assocaition of Teachers (SNAT) and interdicted the government from firing any teachers until the matter is decided in court with a hearing set down for August 24th.
In an embarrasing blow to the government, which has opted - as usual - for a hard line approach to dealing with the long-running teachers' strike over pay, Judge Nkosinathi Nkonyane's ruling means that the authorities cannot fire any more teachers and taht sacked teachers can go back to work pending final determination of the matter.
According to some reports, over 200 teachers had already received letters of dismissal before the court intervenened.
It will be interesting to see how the authorities react - and whether the national consultation called by King Mswati III will help to resolve the increasingly bitter dispute.
But few people believe that the King and his clique will back down. And with the teachers determined to secure their pay rise and to keep the fight going, this battle could rumble on for many weeks and months to come.