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Govt wants SNAT bosses detained for 30 days

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MBABANE – An application by government to have the Swaziland National Association of Teachers’ (SNAT) executive arrested for 30 days was postponed to tomorrow.

The case was postponed by Industrial Court Judge Dumisani Mazibuko. This was contained in government’s application in which it also sought an order declaring SNAT in contempt of court. It further sought an order directing the Royal Swaziland Police to ensure the effective compliance with the order and to assist in its service.

The order which SNAT is allegedly in contempt of was issued by Judge Mazibuko on June 20, 2012. Through the order, SNAT was prohibited from continuing with the strike action as it was dubbed ‘illegal’. Yesterday’s application was on a certificate of urgency. Counsel in the Attorney General’s office, Sifiso Khumalo said this was because there was a wanton disregard of a court order which is prejudicial to the government.

"Further, the matter is urgent by reason that the strike is continuing and there is violence and continuous disruption of classes," Khumalo said.

He said the government cannot be afforded substantial relief at a hearing in due course because by that time the unlawful strike action would have caused irreparable harm to the children, parents and the country as a whole. An affidavit of Thokozani Mhlongo was used in support of the application. Mhlongo is the acting Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service.

"However, to date, respondent (SNAT) has failed to comply with the order of the honourable court by deliberately proceeding with the unlawful strike action," Mhlongo alleged. Mhlongo said he believed that SNAT wilfully and deliberately defied the order of court as it was aware of its existence. However, the judge could not entertain the case due to the alleged defective service. The service of the application upon SNAT was made by an officer from the Attorney General’s offices as opposed to a deputy sheriff.

Judge Mazibuko described such as defective on the grounds of partiality on the officer concerned. "He is part of the team that is likely to succeed," Mazibuko said. The judge continued: "You and your members cannot be neutral. We cannot proceed with the matter." The case was postponed to 4pm.

When the case was recalled, attorney Lucky Howe appeared and stood in for Mandla Mkhwanazi who was reportedly out of the country.

 

Howe asked that the matter be postponed to tomorrow for both parties to file papers. He added that government was not going to suffer any prejudice by postponing the matter. Howe further said it was hard was to prove contempt as it requires proof of intention, which is not so easy to prove.

The case was postponed to tomorrow at 9:30am.


Comments

I wish the govt had a sound advisor or an Attorney General who would guide her on such issues. A court ruling was defied, but arresting SNAT leaders will bring more mayhem than there is now. Kwekucala nje we know that cops are on a spree. Teachers will be uneasy knowing that their leaders are in the slaughter house we call cells. Cops will not be able to contain this one and I sense civil war. Ngalamanye emagama govt is extending the strike by 30 days instead of looking into the issues on the table.Let's hope the judge will put this into consideration.
Jun 28, 2012, 6:34 AM, Anthoniser (anthonym198@gmail.com)

Just for asking for an overdue increment calculated against the cost of living and 14% VAT... What is wrong with my government seriously
Jun 28, 2012, 6:34 AM, MND

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