6 August 2008
Desire to join election forces Saladin to retire
By Sisho Magagula
PRINCIPAL of Nyandza High School Saladin Magagula has retired from the teaching profession to join the national elections.
This follows the Teaching Service Commission’s refusal to grant him leave of absence as provided for by Section 97 of the national constitution.
The provision bars public officers from participating in the elections before being granted leave of absence by the employer.
Magagula, who was nominated over the weekend was asked why he stood for the elections when he did not have the letter indicating that he had been granted leave of absence.
“I applied for the leave of absence from the TSC and my application was turned down. I thought of taking the matter to the High Court but I decided against this idea because the case would have dragged well after the nomination stage, thus prejudicing me.”
“I opted for early retirement as envisaged by the law governing the teaching profession in this country; the Teaching Service Commission Act.”
Asked whether he was told the reason behind his application for leave of absence turned down, Magagula said the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) claimed that it would be difficult to replace him.
This is the same reason advanced to other teachers who applied for the leave of absence to stand for the elections.
Magagula is an executive member of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) serving as recording secretary.
Comfort Dlamini, another executive member, has also joined the elections race.
This flies on the face of a statement made by SNAT earlier that the organisation does not recognise the entire election process as it is apparently ‘undemocratic’.
Magagula said he had exercised his constitutional right to stand for the elections.
“This is a right conferred upon me by the supreme law of the land. SNAT also recognises and respects fundamental human rights. I joined the elections in my capacity as Saladin Magagula, not as a SNAT member.