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Wednesday, 16 February 2011

SWAZI STUDENT LEADER VICTIMISED

First came the student protest: now comes the victimisation.


Last week, students at Swaziland College of Technology (SCOT) joined with other tertiary college and university students in a strike and a march to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, where they delivered a petition calling for the revoking of the proposed Scholarship Policy.


The University of Swaziland’s three campuses, the William Pitcher Teachers’ Training College and Ngwane Teachers’ Training College were also involved in the protest.


Immediately classes resumed the SCOT Administration victimised Alex Horton, the acting Secretary General of SCOT Student Representative Council (SRC).


Anyone who knows the history of colleges and the university in Swaziland will not be surprised that SCOT charged him with calling a meeting of students without the college’s permission. Nor, would anyone be surprised that he was charged also with giving a ‘directive/instruction’ to students to boycott classes.


But we can tell SCOT is trying to bully Horton, because it also charged him with allowing a guest to take a broom without permission. He is also charged with letting a guest take cups from the college refectory. Horton faces seven charges in total.


Horton is the only student at SCOT suspended from class.


Other students at SCOT said Horton was being victimised and immediately started a strike.


Yesterday (15 February 2011), SCOT students staged a peaceful demonstration outside the administration block where they sang songs calling for Horton’s suspension to be lifted.

The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported SRC member Siphosihle Tsabedze saying the students met in the morning to deliberate on Horton’s suspension and it was decided that they confront the administration over the issue.

‘No faculties are in class today. What we want is for Horton to return to class and only then will we also go back,’ Tsabedze told the Times.

He said the students believed Horton did nothing wrong to deserve a suspension because he had helped save the institution’s property on the day of the march.

‘Horton was suspended for addressing students and telling them to protect the institution’s property. He said, for the safety of the infrastructure, no one should go to class,’ Tsabedze, who is the SRC’s finance minister, said.

He said besides Horton’s suspension, they also submitted two other issues to the administration and these include the unavailability of internet services and the E50 fee paid by students for their identity cards.

‘We last had access to the internet in October last year,’ he said.


A disciplinary hearing for Horton is set for Friday (18 February 2011).

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