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DAGGA RAID: PUPILS FLEE, MISS SCHOOL

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PIGG’S PEAK – Dagga is part of the lives of the community of Maguga so much so that even pupils flee during raids.


Yesterday, members of the Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF), His Majesty Correctional Services (HMCS) and Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) teamed up to raid fields of dagga in the community of Maguga and several other areas.


They arrived as early as 6am and it has been gathered that they had grouped from 2am to strategise on how the operation would be carried out. Some of the pupils who were already in uniform are said to have phoned their school mates and told them to run away. However, this publication gathered that community members were equally aware of the operation long before the security forces arrived.


It is alleged that many of them had moved the dagga into the mountains so that it could not be taken away by the police. Some of them, however, were caught off guard but fled as soon as the security officers arrived.


Mountains


Fearing that they would be arrested if found at home, some of the pupils also fled from their places of abode and went straight to the mountains.
Most of them did not go to school.


The most affected are said to have been pupils of Maguga High School. The school, which was constructed through the Komati Basin Water Authority (KOBWA), has about 300 pupils. KOBWA is, however, not involved in any way with the illegal activities of either the parents or the pupils at the school. Of the 300 pupils, this publication gathered that about 100 had been sent home the previous day for non-payment of school fees.


However, yesterday, only about 100 pupils showed up instead of at least 200. This publication gathered from some of the parents and the pupils that they in fact went to the mountains. “We had to go to the mountains because we had to be near some of the dagga,” they said.


The Head teacher of the school, Zweli Dladla, confirmed that there were very few pupils on the day. Dladla said it was not surprising because this usually happened when there were raids.


He said the raids affected pupils as well.
He said a majority of the pupils at the school were from far away areas such as Nhlangano or Siteki but they ended up living in homesteads where dagga was grown within Maguga.


Dladla expressed concern that there should be a way to conduct the raids so that pupils do not get affected. He confirmed that during assembly, he was surprised that there were very few pupils but was informed that some had fled to the nearby mountains.


Dladla also revealed that even teachers were sometimes affected by raids because they lived within the community.
He said this did not mean that the teachers cultivated dagga but that they lived in homesteads where dagga was cultivated.
Yesterday, many parents who were supposed to attend a teachers’ farewell function at Maguga Primary School were also delayed because they had also fled to the mountains.

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