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Swaziland Newsletter No. 495

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  • Richard Rooney
    Swaziland Newsletter No. 495 - 15 September 2017 Newsfrom and about Swaziland, compiled by Africa Contact, Denmark (www.afrika.dk)in collaboration with Swazi
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 14, 2017
      Swaziland Newsletter No. 495 - 15 September 2017
      News from and about Swaziland, compiled by Africa Contact, Denmark (www.afrika.dk) in collaboration with Swazi Media Commentary (www.swazimedia.blogspot.com), and sent to all with an interest in Swaziland - free of charge.
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      School children ‘face starvation’
      Swazi Media Commentary, 14 September 2017
      Children in Swaziland must ‘brace themselves for starvation’, according to a head teacher as once again the government has failed to deliver food to schools.

      This is part of a long-running problem where government has not paid its bills to suppliers.

      The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, reported on Monday (11 September 2017) that as the third school term opened food promised by the government had not been delivered.

      The Times reported there was once again ‘a serious food shortage in most of the learning institutions’.

      It added, ‘The emergency food which was delivered before schools closed for the second term has already been exhausted. The Ministry of Education and Training had promised that food for the third term would be delivered during the school holidays but none of that has happened.’

      Head teacher of Emabheleni Primary School Sibusiso Ndzinisa told the newspaper some pupils were sick and on medication and depended on the food which was provided at school.

      Musa Simelane, the head teacher at Maphalaleni High School, said the pupils should brace themselves for starvation because there was no available food in the school, the Times reported.

      Food shortages have hit Swazi schools all this year and the government school feeding scheme known as zondle has collapsed.

      In August 2017, members of parliament in Swaziland accused the Ministry of Education and Training of lying in a report on severe hunger in the kingdom’s schools.

      They were told that a crisis that has continued all year was over and that school committees were stealing food intended for children.
      A progress reported tabled to the Swazi House of Assembly by Minister of Education and Training Phineas Magagula was rejected. The shortage escalated after the government did not pay its bills to suppliers. The food includes rice, mealie-meal, cooking oil, beans, and peanut butter.

      In a report in May 2017, the World Food Program estimated 350,000 people of Swaziland’s 1.1 million population were in need of food assistance. WFP helped 65,473 of them. It said it was regularly feeding 52,000 orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) aged under eight years at neighbourhood care points. About 45 percent of all children in thought to be OVCs.

      It reported chronic malnutrition affected 26 percent of all children in Swaziland aged under five.

      See also

      Students arrested at court house
      Swazi Media Commentary, 14 September 2017
      Six university students in Swaziland were arrested at a court house when they went to give support to one of their leaders charged after a protest over poor educational standards.

      It happened on Wednesday (13 September 2017) at Malkerns Circuit Court where Sibusiso Siyaya, the President of the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) student representative council, faced a charge of obstructing police.

      The students were taken for questioning at Malkerns police post, according to the Swazi Observer on Thursday. The newspaper reported that Siyaya confirmed the incident. Police would neither confirm nor deny the arrests.

      Siyaya appeared in court charged with obstructing a police officer who was trying to arrest another student. He was bailed until 1 November 2017.

      On Sunday the Sunday Observer newspaper in Swaziland reported that Siyaya had been threatened with a beating and verbally abused on Friday when he went to Malkerns police post to inquire about the wellbeing of students arrested during protests at UNISWA. The police action had been recorded on a mobile phone.

      Students are protesting a number of issues including:

      ·         Lack of accommodation for more than 600 students who are mostly those doing their first year.
      ·         Release of book allowances currently not accessible at the bookshop, although lectures have begun.
      ·         Refectory prices were abruptly increased without any consultation.
      ·         The university never signed a circular which was distributed to all tertiary institutions by the Swazi Government which meant sponsored students would be paid  directly from the Ministry of Labour. Students and not through the university administration.
      ·         Government-sponsored students have not received meal allowances, although the university opened three weeks ago.
      ·         Reverse a decision by UNISWA to ban student body meetings.

      See also

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