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E54 000 DONATION FOR MBONGWA’S LEGAL FEES

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MBABANE – Education International Africa Region (EIRA) has given the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) E54 000 for Mbongwa Dlamini’s legal fees.

Dlamini is the President of SNAT. He recently took government to court for stopping the payment of his salary from October 2022. Above being not paid, Dlamini was further charged by the Teaching Service Commission (TSC). The money for the payment of Dlamini’s legal fees was announced by SNAT on Monday afternoon on its social media pages. SNAT Secretary General (SG) Lot Vilakati confirmed that they had received the money for Dlamini’s legal fees for his ongoing case at the Industrial Court of Eswatini.

Vilakati said the donation was presented by EIRA Regional Director Dennis Sinyolo, who was in the country in the past few days. He stated that the assistance from EIRA came after SNAT had been updating them about the situation faced by Dlamini in the country. He said they updated EIRA that Dlamini’s matter had been taken to court; hence there would be a need for funds to cater for legal fees. Vilakati also mentioned that since Dlamini’s salary was stopped by government, the teachers’ association was currently catering for his financial needs or salary pending finalisation of his case.  As of yesterday, Vilakati said they were consistently engaging the labour commissioner on the matter.

Unions

EIRA is made up of 121 affiliates in 53 of the 54 countries in Africa, including Lebanon and Palestine in the Middle East. Several countries have multiple education sector unions, making unity among and within unions a major concern for the region. The regional office is preoccupied with helping affiliates to develop stronger unions and encouraging them to form united fronts. Dlamini has filed an urgent application through lawyers, Howe Masuku Attorneys, at the Industrial Court to compel government to reinstate his salary. He informed the court that for two months, – October and November 2022 – government withheld his salary illegally.

Dlamini has been president of SNAT since 2018. He was re-elected to the position in an elective congress this years. He said he had been informed by his employer that his salary was being withheld in conformity with Regulation 14(1) of the Teaching Service Regulations of 1983, following his prolonged absence from work.Though his employer said he had absented himself for 109 days, Dlamini said in all the mentioned number of days, his immediate supervisor, as well as the head of department at his workstation, had been informed about his absence, as per the norm.

Absconded

In his application, he accounted for each and every day in which he was said to have absconded work, saying most of the time he was busy with union activities. He also attached a payslip showing that he earned a gross salary (before deductions) of E22 317. He said there was an anomaly, in that the salary was frozen first before the issue of his alleged misconduct was raised. His opinion was that he would be afforded a hearing on the alleged misconduct first and, if found to be on the wrong, then the payment would be stopped.

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