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MATSAPHA – It was a ‘rude’ goodbye for outgoing Minister of Education and Training, Phineas Magagula on his last day in office yesterday.

This transpired during the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) 75/8 Biennial Conference, held at Esibayeni Lodge, where the ex-minister was not escorted by police.

When he arrived to address the teachers, something which he was supposed to do on Sunday when the conference started, the teachers turned the conference into a political rally, as they launched a protest action against him. They did this by singing and dancing to political songs and slogans while carrying placards with different messages directed to Magagula.

As a result, the chairman of the meeting, Sikelela Dlamini, who is the outgoing SNAT Deputy Secretary General, delayed in giving  Magagula a chance to address the conference by calling upon two other speakers to deliver their speeches.

The teachers’ main grievance was that the former minister allegedly turned his back on them. According to the teachers, Magagula, who was once the president of the teachers’ association, was supposed to be on their side as he was aware of the predicament they faced on a daily basis.

At exactly 12:25pm, the former minister was introduced to the conference and was invited to the podium to deliver his keynote address.
Immediately when he started greeting the attendees of the conference, a group of teachers stood up, took their placards and started singing political songs they composed specifically for the ex-minister and left the auditorium. The song was titled; ‘Akahambe’. 

They gathered just by the door of the conference venue, where they sang and danced to different political songs and slogans which were relevant to the fact that the former legislator was leaving office.
The teachers also blew whistles and clapped their hands as they toyi-toyed by the auditorium door. SNAT marshals tried their best to drive the protesting teachers away from the door and closed it, but the educators forcefully opened it in a bid to make sure that their noise disturbed proceedings inside the hall.

As a result, the outgoing SNAT President, Freedom Dlamini, intervened and tried to talk sense into the ringleaders of the protesters. However, the ringleaders made it clear that if they tried to stop the teachers, they would be taken as sellouts. The outgoing president, who left the former minister delivering his remarks in the hall, approached the protesting teachers and asked them to at least allow Magagula to finish his speech. 
“You have already sent the message that you are unhappy with him,” he said.
Furthermore, Dlamini told the teachers that if they continued with the protest while Magagula was delivering his speech, it would be like the national executive committee (NEC) members invited him for the protest.

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