Mbabane: Ngwane National Liberation Congress (NNLC) President, Sibongile Mazibuko, provoked a flurry of comments on her Facebook page when she posted that the government was committing suicide by opening schools without setting out proper protective measures.
“Our government is committing suicide by opening schools with no precautions to protect teachers and learners,” posted Mazibuko. The former teacher and teachers association (SNAT) president wondered how schools could be reopened with all the risks involved amidst the coronavirus pandemic, noting that learning institutions world-over have reversed decisions to resume classes for fear of escalating the already high numbers. Echoing Mazibuko’s words was one Sibusiso Dlamini who said the proposed schools’ reopening on July 6 is nothing less than genocide, saying government must be charged for crimes against humanity.
Another facebooker noted that pupils do not belong to government but parents and hence, it was their duty to deter them from going to schools next week. “It is better to lose one year and save my children’s lives,” said the facebooker.
In earlier reports, SNAT issued that government was dicing with teachers’ lives by directing their return to schools, saying precautionary measures had not been implemented. The association’s president, Mbongwa Dlamini, stated that far little had be done to ensure schools were safe, adding that members that bore pre-existing conditions were most at risk with the virus capitalising on the weakest. Yet, said the president, government had not clearly come out to explain how this group of teachers would be handled. Consequently, the teachers’ association ruled that teachers stayed at home until government implemented safety measures in line with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 9(1) of 2001, a rule which was disregarded by some teachers and their principals who started flocking to schools and began to clean up the classes. Notably, the concerned teachers act to go to their schools to clean up was subsequent to the ministry of education’s threat to apply the no-work, no-pay rule for those of teachers who would defy the government’s directive.