5 February 2019

Swaziland Teachers Claim Victimisation As Govt Hits Union President With Disciplinary Charges

The Swaziland Government is set to start disciplinary action against the president of the kingdom's teachers' union in a move that is being seen as victimisation.

It came as teachers across Swaziland / eSwatini joined other public sector workers on Friday (1 February 2019) for a march in Mbabane to deliver seven petitions to different government departments. Public sector workers are campaigning for a 6.55 percent salary increase to meet the rise in the cost of living. The government says it is broke and has offered three percent starting in 2020 / 2021.

The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) reported its president Mbongwa Dlamini faced four charges of misconduct, including unauthorised absenteeism from his work at Mhubhe High School.

In a statement published on social media SNAT stated, 'Chief amongst these charges is becoming a union leader and participating in legitimate trade union activities that were held across the country and in different venues for the past two weeks.'

If found guilty Dlamini could face dismissal.

The Sunday edition of the Times of Swaziland reported (3 February 2019) he had not yet been formally charged but had been asked to respond. It reported Dlamini saying, 'These are trumped up charges that I was expecting any way.'

The Times added, 'He claimed to have received information to the effect that there had been earlier moves to try and lay charges against him with the police for allegedly threatening teachers who would not be part of the strike action that was eventually stopped by the industrial court.'

It quoted Dlamini saying, 'I think they failed with this. They are just trying to find ways to charge me.'

SNAT Secretary General Sikelela Dlamini said the charges were clandestine moves aimed at destabilising the union. 'The charges are trumped up and are aimed at de-motivating our participation in union activities,' the Times quoted him saying.

The move against Dlamini came as about 2,000 public sector workers marched through the Swaziland capital Mbabane. It was headed by four unions: SNAT, Swaziland National Government Accounting Personnel (SNAGAP), Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) and National Public Service and Allied Workers Unions (NAPSAWU).

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