Swazi students to protest over unpaid allowances
October 7, 2010 1 Comment
Swazi students have not been paid their allowances for some time now, and according to the newly elected Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) President, Maxwell Dlamini, he and his fellow students are beginning to feel the effect of this, some students even going hungry.
At the same time, politicians have been paying themselves exorbitant severance payments. SNUS and Dlamini have therefore given the Swazi regime an ultimatum: pay us what we are due by Friday or face “the wrath of the angry youth of Swaziland” by next week. That SNUS is capable of doing so was seen in February where they, as Dlamini puts it, brought “the whole country to a standstill”.
President of SNUS, Maxwell Dlamini released the following statement yesterday, 6 October 2010:
“If the government does not pay all the outstanding allowances for tertiary students by Friday this week, she will surely face and see the wrath of the angry youth of Swaziland next week. We cannot be massaging and romanticising government as if we are in the bedroom when our brothers and sisters in all tertiary institutions live in inhuman conditions without food and money to take care of them. What is more disgusting and paralysing is that politicians had gotten their backpays and will be having expensive blackberry phones at the expense of the hungry students. All this are signs of an irresponsible government, a government made of selfish, greedy, myopic and self centred men who don’t care about the needs and wants of the people but themselves, a government which doesn’t seek to address and serve the Swazi people but themselves by looting public money and a useless jet in pieces. We call upon the government of the illegally appointed prime minister to release all the outstanding allowances by Friday. If this is not the case, we will bring the whole country to standstill like we did in February this year. This is not a threat but a promise that we will surely keep and flood the streets of Mbabane if our key demands are not met. We also call upon all src’s in our different institutions to work tirelessly and hand in hand with our umbrella organisation in tertiary institutions to make sure that the allowances are released by Friday.”
The Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) is an organisation for tertiary level students. Since its formation in the eighties, SNUS has faced brutal repression from the Swazi regime. The organisation has survived this repression, however, and has gone on to feed various Swazi youth organisations with qualified activist leaders. SNUS has been active both within and outside Swaziland, supporting the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa as well as organising protests and demonstrations within Swaziland itself. The organisation is thus very much a part of the democratic movement, and apart from agitating for student issues also pushes for a democratic Swaziland. SNUS organises debates, political lessons and protests, and has consistently increases its membership and level of activity.
UPDATE 8 October:
According to SNUS President Maxwell Dlamini, the students have won a partial victory against the government. “Today, we woke up to the news that already some students have already started getting their meal allowances. This is partial victory for the students of Swaziland”, Maxwell Dlamini said. He also warned the government to ensure that all students were paid today, however, or SNUS would “bring the country to standstill”.
Student’s ‘victory’ on allowances, Swazi Media Commentary, 8 October 2010