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MBABANE – “We will be out in full force to protect school property, teachers and learners who want to learn”.

This was said by the National Commissioner (NATCOM) of Police William Tsitsibala Dlamini when reacting to the ongoing incidents of school-going pupils engaging in protests. Dlamini spoke through a press statement yesterday regarding what he termed ongoing protest actions and criminal acts of sabotage in various schools in the country. He said as a police service, they continued to receive reports of protest actions in various schools around the country.  


Dlamini said it was disturbing to note that in some schools, the protests turned violent and resulted in ugly scenes ranging from damage to school property, blocking of roads with burning tyres and stones, stoning of motor vehicles and other violent tactics unleashed on teachers and parents had been witnessed.
“As a law enforcement agency, we condemn the pupils’ violent protest actions and acts of criminality in the strongest possible terms.  The situation cannot be allowed to continue unabated lest it becomes an avenue of instigating anarchy, lawlessness and disorder in our schools and by extension in the country, thus threatening not only the future of our children but also peace and tranquillity,” Dlamini said.

He said it was against this background that as a police service, they found it apposite to issue a warning against the ringleaders, including the people inciting the pupils behind the scenes, to desist from sowing seeds of anarchy and lawlessness in the country’s schools. Dlamini said the REPS wanted to assure the nation of its total commitment to ensuring that law and order was restored in schools. “Hence, we will be out in full force to protect school property, teachers and learners who want to learn. For this reason, we do not expect students to force others to take part in protest actions or to move from one school to another forcing learners to abandon classes and join the protests.


“Suffice to state that the full might of the law will take its course against those who will be found instigating violence and perpetrating criminal acts.  
“We also wish to plead and urge the learners to think about their future and not allow anyone to manipulate or use them to achieve their own selfish agendas,” Dlamini emphasised. Yesterday, this publication reported that at least 82 schools were indefinitely closed after pupils protested, causing chaos. In some of the schools, the protests were characterised by burning of furniture, smashing of windows, blocking of roads and tear gas was fired. There was also an incident where a head teacher was allegedly pelted with stones.

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