Buses strike affects schools
MANZINI – The stand-off between the Manzini Municipal Council and bus operators has led to confusion as some schools along the eastern route of the country recorded poor attendance and were forced to close early yesterday.
The Satellite Bus Rank boycott entered its fourth day yesterday as; there was no public transport to take commuters to work and pupils to school.
Some pupils are believed to have released early from school in view of the lack of transport in Manzini. ã€€Pupils joined other commuters as they filed from the city centre to the traffic circle at Coates Valley to hitchhike. Bakkies and lorries picked up commuters near The George Hotel.
At 8:10am, some pupils from Luve High School, St Joseph’s High Scho-ol, and Apex Academy were found stranded at the Satellite Bus Rank, and reports yesterday were that members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) had reported that only half the pupils attended school.
Also, two schools sought permission from the president of the Swaziland Principals Association (SWAPA) to release pupils early because there was no transport to take them home.
Swapa President, Mduduzi Bhe-mbe, said the two schools wanted to close early to allow pupils time to get home.
"I will not mention the names of the schools because we wanted to seek permission from the Ministry of Education and Training first before releasing the pupils," he said.
Yesterday evening Bhembe said the association had not been able to get permission from the Ministry of Education. Bhembe said he went to the Satellite Bus Rank yesterday morning to see for himself the pupils that were stranded.
"I went there in the morning and spoke to the pupils who were stran-ded. I asked them what was happening and they told me that they did not have transport to take them to their respective schools. Not only did this situation affect pupils, even teachers said there was no transport to take them to school, it was confusion. This matter needs a quick solution or we will ask the Ministry of Education to allow us to send pupils home early," said Bhembe.
Bhembe said he could not rule out the possibility of other schools closing early yesterday.
"Maybe some schools had to close early yesterday, because if there is no transport there is little principals can do. It is possible that some schools closed early because if there is no longer reliable transport to take teachers and pupils home, the situation calls for a suspension of classes or to even consider breaking early," he said.
The Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ntuthuko Dlamini, last week said the ministry had identified 15 ringleaders among the public transport operators and they would on Monday start repossessing the public transport permits.
Government Spokesperson, Percy Simelane’s phone rang unanswered when called. The last call was made at 7:20pm.
Secretary General of SNAT, Muzi Mhlanga, said he had been to the Ministry of Education in an attempt to liaise with the ministry and release a joint statement with the ministry. "I could not have an audience with the minister, but the situation is desperate in Manzini.
"SNAT’s membership has formally complained to us with regard to the public transport strike. The information we have is that schools in the eastern route were empty, the attendance was very poor. I am told classes in some schools could not continue because of this problem. Pupils and teachers were affected alike," said Mhlanga.
Confusion over availability of transport today
MANZINI – There could still be confusion today in Manzini.
Duma Msibi of the Swaziland Commercial Amadoda Road Transport Association, last night said bus owners met with the Manzini Council and agreed to resume work today (Tuesday) but there are reports that the workers want to continue with the boycott.
"I am not going to say where we agreed to work because it is not in our scope to choose where we work, that ball is in the council’s court. However, it is true that we met and we told them that transport will be available today," said Msibi.
"However, I have heard disturbing news just now that drivers and conductors had a meeting of their own at Mpaka where they resolved to continue with the boycott. That is a disturbing developmentã€€ because the bus owners have reached their own decision, and then this. I don’t know now what will happen, but I urge the public to be free to go to Manzini today," said Msibi.
This is really a joke. The fact that these bus conductors and drivers do not want to work is not a problem but the problem lies with the bus owners themselves. Why dont they fire them because seemingly they dont want to work. Baningi bantfu labafuna umsebenti. Safa kuhlupheka especially the school kids bayashiyeka kantsi the exam is set. In the exam room there is no excuse yekutsi there were no buses. You are well known of having 'tingcondvo letilukhuni' but sicabangeleni.
May 15, 2012, 1:45 PM, L
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