Swaziland Teachers Go to Court in Bid to Stop Schools Reopening During Coronavirus Crisis

Teachers in Swaziland (eSwatini) are taking the government to court to try to halt the reopening of schools during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) says it is not safe to reopen yet. The number of positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) is increasing in the kingdom.

SNAT made an urgent application to the Swazi Industrial Court which was due to be heard on Tuesday (7 July 2020). Schools started to reopen the day before. So far only Form V pupils are back at school.

SNAT wants the government to be ordered to keep schools closed until it provides all teachers with personal protective equipment (PPE). Among other issues it also wants teachers, staff and pupils to be obliged to wear facemasks.

The government is contesting the application but has yet to issue details of its objection.

This week it was announced that the all members of the Swaziland Cabinet were isolating at home after one of their number tested positive for coronavirus. On Monday a sitting of the High Court was abruptly ended when it was reported two judges had tested positive.

As of 6 July 2020 there had been 1011 reported positive cases of coronavirus and 13 deaths, according to Ministry of Health figures.

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