MBABANE: King Mswati’s government has postponed the opening of schools following another threat of a mass protest after parents across the country refused to sign “no protest” consent forms on behalf of their children.
The postponement of schools comes after Mlungisi Makhanya, the President of the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) indicated that as the progressive movement they had a special surprise for Mswati’s government if the arrested pro-democracy Members of Parliament(MPs) were not released by Friday.
But Bheki Gama, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education released a press statement saying the postponement of schools was meant to give a team of Cabinet Ministers time to visit schools and assess the damage caused by the recent storms.
“Government would like to notify members of the public that schools will no longer open Tuesday 16th November 2021 as earlier proposed. The reason is that a team of Cabinet Ministers has been tasked to visit schools next week to assess the damage caused by the recent storms. It is important that Government has a clear picture of the situation in the affected schools to know of it would be feasible to open schools”, read the statement in part.
The decision by Government to postpone the opening of schools comes after parents across the country refused to sign “no protest” forms on behalf of their children, they want government to address the grievances raised by students.
Reached for comments, Mbongwa Dlamini, the President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers(SNAT) said it was wrong for government to try and massage the situation instead of addressing the real issues.
“Parents stated categorically that they won’t send their children to school if pro-democracy MPs Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube are not released. The issues raised by the children who are calling for democratic reforms are the same demands by the parents”, said the SNAT President.
Eswatini is in the midst of a political crisis after King Mswati banned thr delivery of petitions and subsequently unleashed soldiers and the police to shoot and kill dozens of civilians merely for demanding democratic reforms.
Government has postponed the opening of schools amid looming protests.