Mbabane: The Eswatini National Schools Association (SNAT) case against government over the reopening of schools on July 6 has been delayed by electricity blackout at the Industrial Court.
The blackout occurred yesterday, July 9, before completion of SNAT’s submissions through their representation, Lucky Howe. “The blackout occurred 30 minutes before our defence could wrap up their submission,” said the association’s secretary general, Sikelela Dlamini. He said the matter was then shifted to today, July 10, only to find that the units had still not been bought.
Dlamini said the electricity was important in the event there would be the need to appeal the court’s decision, which would need a recording. Consequently, the matter has been postponed to Monday July 13. “We are disappointed at the turn of events as we are yearning for the judgment which would enable the association’s operations,” said the SG.
He added that government was thoughtless in not ensuring that everything, including electricity, was in place to ensure an uninterrupted flow of the case, pouring scorn over what he termed a petty issue such ignoring the loading of electricity units to enable the progress of a matter of national importance.
“When we enquired how such could happen I was told at the time government didn’t immediate cash to purchase the units,” said the SG, wondering what type of a big organisation such as government couldn’t afford cash to purchase units.
The teachers’ association filed an urgent application at the Industrial Court, challenging the reopening of schools, saying safety measures had not been put in place. They argued that more than 22 schools countrywide were not ready for the reopening, and any reopening would pose a great threat to both teachers and learners to contract the deadly virus. The association seeks an order interdicting the Minister of Education and Training as well as the Prime Minister from directing that all high schools with Forms V should be required to open.
The association further prays for an order directing the minister and PM to provide all teachers with all the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), to avoid the contracting and transmission of COVID-19.
SNAT also seeks the court to direct government to comply with the provisions of Section 9 and 18 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, together with the directive issued by the PM to the effect that all persons, including teachers, staff and learners should wear face masks in public spaces such as schools.
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