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MATSAPHA – Mbongwa Dlamini is the new SNAT President. SNAT is an acronym for Swaziland National Association of Teachers. Dlamini came out victorious after elections which were held during the first day of the organisation’s National Congress which was held at Esibayeni Lodge since Sunday.

He was competing for the position against vocal trade unionist Siphasha Dlamini. Mbongwa is a teacher at Mhubhe High School.

Outgoing SNAT Secretary General Zwelithini Mndzebele said the presidency position was fiercely contested between the two candidates. Mndzebele said Mbongwa did not have a landslide victory but won by a few votes. According to the elections results, Mbongwa won by eight votes as he got 149 while Siphasha got 141.

Mbongwa will succeed outgoing President Freedom Dlamini, while his deputy will be Celucono Dino Dlamini, who is popular in football circles. The latter won most votes for the position against Vusi Sibanyoni. Khumbuzile Sithebe was entrusted with holding the organisation’s purse as Mndzebele stated that she was voted as the SNAT Treasurer. Sithebe was up against Norman Sicelo Matsenjwa for the position.

Mndzebele will hand over the reins to his Deputy Secretary, Sikelela Dlamini, who was voted to be the SNAT Secretary General. Mndzebele narrated that Sikelela won after his position was not contested.

He said this was the end of a short era. “Those who are leaving will do so with a clear conscience, no hard feelings and will hand over the baton to these comrades (new NEC),” Mndzebele said.

He said they might leave office and hand over to the new National Executive Council (NEC) around month end. He could not say what the future held for the organisation but stated that the incoming NEC could be in a better position to do that. He said he believed in the incoming leadership and added that it had capacity in all aspects.

Mndzebele said it was a rare opportunity to lead the organisation and thanked teachers for trusting them, as the outgoing NEC, to lead the union. He shared that his position was one which required him to work extra hard. He said he had to sacrifice certain things to be able to serve the union well.

Mndzebele’s experience as secretary general had change him. He said the position exposed him to a lot of things which changed him for the better. He said even the way he interacted with people changed for the better. “One other element that I am happy about as an individual for having been given this opportunity was to spearhead the business venture for SNAT,” Mndzebele said.

He added that it was now in the hands of the incoming leadership to take the organisation forward.
In an interview, incoming secretary general Sikelela said most people would expect him to be happy with the new position but he was not due to the nature of the task that was before him.


He explained that secretary generals became servants of the people and explained that servitude could not be celebrated, particularly because their daily operations were governed by fear, respect and humility for all those they represented.

“On a daily basis you need to do an introspection to see whether you are still furthering the organisation’s objectives and mandate,” Sikelala said. He, however, appreciated the trust bestowed on him by the over 14 000 teachers who are members of the organisation. He said that could not be taken lightly.

Sikelela described himself as a drop in the ocean which was part of a larger collective. He said he would be transformed to a formidable force if the masses were fully behind him and the new NEC. He said in a democratic organisation, leaders did not do as they pleased but did what the membership wanted.

Sikelela explained that the needs of a trade union could be largely categorised into two; one being those that touched on the individual and the other on the collective. He stated that his modus operandi would be putting more emphasis on purely factorial issues like allowances. He added that they would achieve this through working together as a unit.

Sikelela narrated that there were benefits they did not enjoy. He explained that there were terms of service and conditions of service and employment which entailed living conditions and working material among other things.

“My objective is to have a fully professionalised teaching as it is not that much realised,” Sikelela said.

He further said he believed if teachers would elevate themselves and be entirely professional, government would be forced to treat them as professionals. He said teachers had to regain the status of having solutions to societal issues, something he said they were known for.

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