Student leaders in Swaziland are complaining that universities and colleges in the kingdom are refusing to allow them to represent their constituents.
The Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS), a national body that is not recognised by the Government, says a number of tertiary institutions fail to recognise duly-elected Student Representative Councils (SRCs). Instead, SNUS said in a statement, the administrations in many of them choose students themselves to be the spokesperson for their colleagues.
SNUS Secretary General Dlamini Stacky said, ‘It has come to our attention that some tertiary institutions are still operating like “farms” as students are continuously repudiated freedom of expression and right to representation. This is evidenced by various tertiary administrations’ failure to recognize Student Representative Councils (SRCs) as legitimate bodies put up to champion student’s issues.
‘What is of shock and embarrassment is the fact that these bodies were democratically elected by the studentry to be their voices.’
SNUS listed a number of tertiary education institutions that were ignoring duly-elected student leaders.
Stacky added, ‘As we speak tertiary institutions like Good Shepherd have no SRCs not because the students do not want such structure to be in place but it is due to arrogant repressive uncooperative dictating administration.
‘We are reliably informed that in Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, the SRC is not taken seriously as the institution’s administration works hand in hand with imposed ambassadors who tend to be rumour mongers and spies of the administration.
‘We are aware of the compromise of SRCs in colleges like William Pitcher and Ngwane as the Dean of Student Affairs play double roles; that of being a lecturer (who carries a red pen) and that of being an office addressing student’s concerns.
‘SRC members work in fear of victimization as the officer vehemently threatens them not to question anything seen to be maladministrative or face suspension, failure if not expulsion.
‘Institutions like SANU (Southern Africa Nazarene University), SCOT (Swaziland College of Technology) and UNISWA (University of Swaziland) treat SRCs as “political minded confused kids” who are incapacitated to lead, this is displayed during elections.
‘The administrations always want to put their own deployed stooges into positions and if such does not materialize, they either halt student’s operations by frustrating them financially or delay hand-over so they can shorten their period of office.’
STUDENTS TOLD: NAME STRIKE LEADERS