Teachers chucked out after showdown with principal
MBEKELWENI – A group of toyi-toying teachers were driven out of Mbekelweni Lutheran High School after a showdown with the principal, who also happens to be the president of the Swaziland Principals Association (SWAPA), Mduduzi Bhembe.
The group of teachers, in the third day of their synchronised invasion of schools, confronted Bhembe inside the school in full view of the pupils and the teachers who were on duty.
Despite the nationwide shutdown of schools, Bhembe ordered the group of over 20 teachers to leave the school premises. The drama lasted for an estimated 20 minutes until armed police and correctional officers intervened before the situation could escalate.
After an altercation near the assembly square, Bhembe told the teachers that he would not tolerate what they were doing inside the school premises. The group of teachers shouted back that they had come to the school to get members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers.
Bhembe then drove away in a maroon BMW sedan, which he parked behind the classes. Emerging from behind the classes Bhembe again ordered the teachers to leave while the pupils started to whistle.
In that moment, the armed police team led by Manzini Deputy Regional Operations Musa ‘Magic’ Zwane, and Mafutseni Station Commander Cruiser Ndlangamandla arrived.
The police momentarily blocked the gate, before letting the teachers leave.
When the teachers left the school, Bhembe summoned the pupils to assembly where he addressed them about the teachers who had invaded the school.
"I will not let people come and vagabond inside the school premises," said Bhembe in an interview soon after the situation had normalised.
"You have just witnessed a minor disturbance by a group of teachers who were on an illegal strike action. As a principal, my views are clear on what SNAT has elected to embark on. This is illegal and, therefore, I will not encourage my staff to engage on an illegal strike action."
"I follow the instructions of the Ministry of Education, and the ministry has been told that schools are not closed. My school will not close, and the 34 teachers will continue teaching. I have told the teachers that I will not support any action by an association that lacks leadership. Teachers may take part, but they may have to deal with the consequences that will follow thereafter because I would certainly pursue that at a higher level," said Bhembe. The pupils and teachers thereafter returned to class.
Bhembe said yesterday’s events at his school were an unfortunate situation.
First and foremost, I am not a teacher and never would be and decided on another profession even when my parents wanted me to be a teacher and now I am enjoying the benefits of my choice. I have been in the struggle since I was a teenager, teachers must not worry we have witnessed on a several occassions people like Bhembe. After the struggle have been won he would be the first to go around telling lies. And, to make matters worse I know how he used corruption to pave his way to be where he is today, where he now have the guts to call some of the people who are more qualified than he is, my staff. They formed this primary teacher's association, because they were power hungry. At SNAT its it not by favour but through merit, so he knew he will never at any time get there. Viva Teachers, Aluta Continua.
Jun 27, 2012, 9:30 AM, Andile (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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