Cabinet must resign - parents
MANZINI – Parents called for a change in the system of governance and an immediate resignation of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet during their crisis meeting yesterday.
These are some of the demands that the parents raised during the meeting held at Bosco Skills Centre. One of the comments made by a parent was: "The Americans and the British are not stupid when they embrace political parties. Do we think we are much smarter than they are?"
The parents resolved to march to Parliament and Cabinet where they would make their aspirations known on a date yet to be arranged.
The meeting was attended by over 1 000 parents.
Among them were a number of plain clothes police officers.
The meeting was chaired by Emmanuel Ndlangamandla, the Director of the Coordination Assembly of Non Governmental Organisations (CANGO).
Though the agenda was to discuss a way forward amid the teachers’ strike, the meeting turned political.
Parents who are not even known in the political scene said they were fed up with the current system of government.
"You cannot bring down government if the system that put the current government in power is still in existence.ã€€ The only alternative is to return to political parties now," Reuben Sukati said.
Sibongile Mazibuko who is President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) said children of some Cabinet ministers were schooling in South African schools where there are political parties.
"They do not want parties yet they take children to schools where there are political parties," she said.
Thousand Mabuza said now was an opportune time to remove the Tinkhundla system of governance once and for all.
"The nation must go to the appropriate authorities and declare that this system of governance must go," he said.
Elliot Mkhatshwa said it would take only three days to do away with the current system of governance.
George Hleta said the financial crisis did not take the country by surprise but it was brought upon the nation by reckless spending.
"You can’t tell me now that an elderly woman was burnt to death in a house without having told me earlier that there is an elderly woman who stays alone in a house," he said.ã€€
When summarising the resolutions of the meeting, the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations (SCCCO) confirmed that one of the resolutions was the call for a people-centred government to replace the current system.
Commotion as cops told to leave
MANZINI – There was commotion at the parents meeting when plain clothes police officers were told to leave the hall as they were not welcome.
The police officers who were over 20 had mingled with the parents and were scattered all over the hall.
While TUCOSWA First Vice Secretary Mduduzi Gina was addressing the gathering, some political activists started making noise, saying there were police officers in their midst.
The commotion disturbed the proceeding for about five minutes as Gina had to abandon the microphone temporarily. However, Emmanuel Ndlangamandla who chaired the proceedings said the parents must leave the police officers alone because they were also parents.
... meeting turns into political rally
MANZINI – The parents meeting at the Bosco Skills Centre turned into a political rally as leaders of political parties took turns to mobilise masses to fight the Tinkhundla system of governance.
President of the banned People’s United Democratic Movement Mario Masuku said it was time that the "Swazi people got a government of their own."
He also called for the unconditional withdrawal of charges on all teachers arrested during the ‘Waya Waya’ strike.
Swaziland Democratic Party (SWADEPA) President Jan Sithole read, Section 63 of the Constitution which says every citizen has a right to ensure that the will of Swazis is respected.
"It also says it is the duty of all citizens to promote democracy and the rule of law."
"I suggest that we deliver a petition to Parliament and tell them that the people who elected them want them to pass a vote of no confidence on the Cabinet. From there we will go to Cabinet and tell them to release the 4.5 per cent increment by Monday," he said.
Archie Sayed, also from SWADEPA said the only solution was multiparty democracy.
"It is time for change and everyone should unite," he said.
Ngwane National Liberatory Congress President Dr. Alvit T Dlamini said the Tinkhundla system of governance must be removed once and for all.
Dumsani Fakudze of the Swaziland Communist Party (SWACOPA) said there was a need to address the education crisis in general.
Reverend Hanson Ngwenya of the Christian United Democratic Movement (CUDEMO) said the 1973 Decree could only be removed with another decree.
Parents’ vigil at UNICEF
MANZINI – Parents have resolved to hold a vigil at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to seek assistance in the teachers’ strike over a 4.5 per cent increment.
Gugu Malindzisa of the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations (SCCCO) told the gathering yesterday that those who will participate in the march should wear black.
"This will show that we are mourning the future of the children which is going down the drain.
We considered the UN or UNICEF and eventually agreed that UNICEF is more relevant as it caters for the children’s needs." She said all those who will participate in the march must be prepared to sleep outside the UNICEF offices until government heeds demand for teachers’ salary increment.
An officer of UNICEF who could not be named because he had no authority to speak to the media said no communication from the parents or civic organisations had reached the agency by yesterday. Efforts to get UNICEF’s Director failed yesterday as his phone rang unanswered with the last call made at 8.30pm
Culture is abused in SD - Sibongile
MANZINI - Sibongile Mazibuko, President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), said culture was being abused in Swaziland.
Mazibuko said her advice was that the women who go to cut reed should spend a day and return to their homes, instead of spending the whole week away. She said if they spent the whole week away from home, they were vulnerable to abuse.
On a different note, she criticised the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) for having allegedly worsened the lives of pupils. "SNAT complained when they brought IGCSE here. Those who introduced it kept saying under IGCSE, no Swazi pupil would fail. But now several Swazi pupils failed and are at home without a career," she said.
She then announced that tomorrow all teachers would march to Mbabane as they revive their ‘Waya Waya’ strike.
It’s not Cabinet’s fault - Percy
MANZINI – Government spokesperson Percy Simelane said Cabinet should not be blamed for the economic crisis affecting the country.
"The global economic meltdown that the world faces has not been caused by the kingdom’s Cabinet. In any democratic society it is the Constitution or set laws that have to be followed when replacing a government or system.
"The issue of a multiparty system is clear in the national Constitution; the nation said "not for now". Until the Constitution has been amended by the nation, parents will have to abide by it as we all do.
"Cabinet is made up of parents and there is nothing new about parents taking ministerial positions.
"We have an economic challenge like the rest of Africa and the world at large. As a nation we need to pull ourselves by our own boot strings.
"Fighting among ourselves for power is no recipe to success. It only points to self-centredness," he said.
‘We know where the money is’
MANZINI - Parents say they know where to take the money to cater for the teachers’ salary increment from.
This was in response to a statement attributed to Education and Training Minister Wilson Ntshangase who was quoted as saying teachers must take the money where they see it.
Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) First Vice Secretary General, Mduduzi Gina, said some of the money could come from the E28 million that was taken from public coffers to deposit a jet that was never delivered.
"That money was just given to some men who, it seems, used it for personal needs," he alleged.
He said some of the money can also come from Circular No.1 of 2010, which gives lucrative perks to politicians.
"We can’t afford to have the PM taking home E1.5 million after only five years in office," he said.
Other parents said the Tibiyo TakaNgwane should be nationalised so that its purse can be monitored by the public as is the case with the central government.
"Tibiyo was formed by Swazis who donated cows to the central fund. Why are the Swazis not benefiting from it now?" Bheki Mamba wondered.
He also said some money could be saved from the expenditure of the army if the retirement age of soldiers could be reduced from 60.
Our system of govt has expired.Change must b efectd.
July 5, 2012, 12:37 PM, Sandilemtfombeni (Sandilemtfombeni@yahoo.com)
I support the parents and the teachers' strike completely. There is a lot of money in the country that belongs to the people it is just some of it is held in trust. Ayibuye yonkhe. Tibiyo is filthy rich yet the country is very poor. Government is also spending a lot of money in the army, which raises questions as to why we need those arms if we are genuinely democratic. Which country are we planning to attack or defend ourselves from. There are countries that do not have the army. It is obvious they are being bought for us the citizens.
July 5, 2012, 12:37 PM, thatha (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Strike must be on tomorrow rain or shine!!!!
July 5, 2012, 12:37 PM, FOSTER (Chrizzy64@ovi.com)
yeMaswati, engabe aniboni yini kutsi nihlabela ingoma yinye onkhe lamalanga, revolution means blood shed, none of you lenikhuluma kangaka seem to be willing to go through that. Nginemanga yini?
Jul 5, 2012, 12:50 PM, sphetfo (email@example.com)
The strike touches on virtually everybody's life in the country, especially those of us who are not connected to the financial system to afford sending our kids to schools outside the country, as a perk. To the cabinet and whole leadership at large the strike is therefore just water on a duck's back - so to speak – let it go on! The demand for a living wage is well founded: we have circular 1, a preserve to look after the elite on departure from the comfortable seat, the extremely high salaries for an ‘impoverished’ country, numerous trips abroad and a whole cupboard of deadwood in the cabinet. Moreover, the salary freeze has just been too long, inflation notwithstanding. Relieving them of the comfortable chairs at Lobamba will wake them out of their reverie to smell the coffee. We need leaders with feelings, not the crocodile crusted skinned leaders who are insensitive to our kid’s suffering! What is a country without education? The strike is justified in the wake of rampant expenditure by leadership
Jul 5, 2012, 12:50 PM, Ngimi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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