2 August 2008
Sive siyinqaba attacks TSC on barring teachers from elections
MBABANE - The action by the Ministry of Education to deny teachers an opportunity to stand for the forthcoming polls has ignited different reactions from society.
Seething with anger, Sive Siyinqaba Publicity Secretary Zibuse Simelane said the action was inconsistent with what is always preached about the country’s system of governance.
"We believe that the system is democratic, but that should not only be on paper. It should be seen to be democratic," he said.
Simelane said his organisation was worried because these latest turn of events were against the dictates of the constitution.
"This is a national exercise and everyone should be allowed to participate. This can either be by voting or being voted for," he said.
He said the action by government to bar other sections of society from contesting the polls had a potential to divide the nation.
The perception created by the action, he said, would also create the perception that authorities were against certain people standing for the elections.
Simelane’s outburst comes in the wake of the Teaching Service Commissions (TSC) decision to turn down applications for leave of absence from service, which were filed by teachers intending to stand for the elections.
The constitution stipulates that public servants are not eligible to stand for the polls.
An aspiring legislator is given two options to pursue in order to be eligible to stand for the elections.
One can either resign or seek a five-year leave of absence from his employer (government).
It has come to this publication’s attention that some teachers who were already pursuing hopes to go into the legislative chambers were denied by their employer that right.
In the possession of this newspaper is a letter addressed to one teacher where the TSC puts it in no uncertain terms that it would not grant a certain teacher the opportunity to be voted into the august House.
"Pursuant to your application for leave of absence to participate in the forthcoming National Election, I am directed by the TSC to inform you that the application has not been approved," reads the letter.
The teacher’s application for the five-year leave of absence was turned down.
But the teacher did not take kindly to the response, hence legal proceedings have already been instituted against the TSC.
The Swazi News also gathered that there are many other cases where teachers were denied their right to participate in the forthcoming elections.