Swaziland Students Boycott Classes As Govt. Breaks Promise to Pay Allowances

Students in Swaziland (eSwatini) boycotted classes and at least one college has been closed after the government failed to honour its promise to pay allowances.

Some students have been without payment for the past two months.

The William Pitcher teacher training college at Manzini was closed down indefinitely, according to a report from the Swaziland Youth Congress.

Students at the Southern Africa Nazarene University at Manzini have also boycotted classes.

The government fails to pay allowances on time most years and boycotts routinely take place. In September 2019 students only agreed to return to classes after the government promised to double their allowances and pay it monthly. No payments have been made in the past two months.

A statement from the SANU student representative council (SRC) said it wanted the immediate release of book, practical and monthly allowances; scholarship for all students admitted at the institution and allowances to be increased to meet students' economic needs.

SANU SRC Secretary General Colani Khulekani Maseko sustained serious injuries during a confrontation with other non-protesting students and was admitted to the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital, the Observer on Saturday reported.

It said some students who were not government sponsored wanted to continue with classes. Police were called to SANU after students marched on the university administration.

SANU SRC President Tholumuzi Gubevu Simelane told the newspaper the first day of class boycott was a huge success. 'The boycott continues until our demands are met,' he said.

The Swazi News reported Simelane said the students were concerned about government's inability to uphold its agreement to pay their monthly allowances within a period of 30 days. This was stipulated by a clause contained in the pre-service tertiary education study loan agreement form the students signed in September 2019.

Simelane said they had not received their allowances for September and October.

In a letter to tertiary institutions the Ministry of Labour and Social Security said payments had been delayed because it did not have all students' bank details.

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