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MBABANE – After he was reported to be in hiding, SNAT President Mbongwa Dlamini appeared on Friday and attended meetings in Parliament and at the Cabinet offices.

The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) president confirmed that he was in hiding, following several threats on his life. Since then, Dlamini had been reportedly out of the country, until last week Friday, when he attended meetings between SNAT, senior government officials and members of the executive board of the Education International (EI), which was in the country. In an interview with this publication on Sunday, Dlamini said he only came for the meetings and would return to hiding thereafter. When asked how his continued hiding would affect his work, Dlamini said he had reported to his employer, being government, on the threats to his life. “I have informed the employer that I am not safe, the Occupational Health and Safety Act Section 18 (3) comes in,” he said.

When sought for comment, Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Education and Training Bheki Gama confirmed that Dlamini was indeed part of the meetings last Friday. Gama said inasmuch as Dlamini’s immediate employer was the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), what they knew as government was that his salary had been suspended until he returned to class. He said as a ministry, they were still waiting for him to inform them that he was back in class, then they would take it from there. Gama said it was also worth noting that Dlamini was not fired, contrary to circulating information.  


In early February, he told this publication that he was outside the country to attend to other SNAT business, and while at the border gate, upon his return, he received information to the effect that he should not enter the country as police officers were waiting to arrest him. However, he said he did not heed the warning and proceeded with his journey as he had a scheduled meeting in Ezulwini. “The driver dropped me off and when he was heading back to Mbabane, he was stopped by one of the famous GD6 vehicles at Corner Plaza,” said Dlamini. The SNAT president said they questioned the driver about his whereabouts and he responded to the effect that he had boarded another vehicle to Manzini. Dlamini said despite everything, he proceeded to attend assassinated Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Maseko’s memorial service. He said after the memorial service, a relative of his received a call from sources at the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS), who told him that he was wanted and it was safe for him to disappear. Dlamini said his decision to flee was not only informed by the fact that police wanted him but also considered information circulating on social media under the name Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF). “This account has not been disowned by the spokesperson or army authorities,” Dlamini had said.


He said there was a person who used a fake account calling himself Zwelakhe, who had been constantly making threats. Dlamini said at one point, the same Zwelakhe posted that he was near his house and looking for him to answer on the logo of the solidarity forces, which was allegedly designed at SNAT Centre and that he had to answer on what was the link between the two. Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati said when they were looking for someone they classified them as a wanted person and issued a warrant of arrest. Vilakati said for now, they did not know any warrant of arrest against the SNAT president. She wondered whether Dlamini had reported to the police when he heard that he was wanted. She said police officers were not killers and if they wanted someone, they just needed assistance with certain information, hence Dlamini should have gone to find out why he was wanted.

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: Lutsango
Should Lutsango be included in bandlancane and traditional courts?