Student leaders at the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) have been suspended without specific charges being laid following a class boycott over unpaid allowances.
A total of 25 students have been suspended including Student Representative Council (SRC) President Sakhile Ndzimandze and three SRC Cabinet members.
UNISWA announced the suspensions after two of its campuses reopened following a two-week shutdown. All the suspended students have been banned from entering university premises.
The students received a letter from UNISWA Acting Vice-Chancellor Prof M.D. Dlamini stating they had been suspended from the university with immediate effect pending investigation.
The Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) Secretary General Nqubeko Maziya in a statement said, ‘In a very weird fashion, unheard of in disciplinary procedures and absolutely contrary to law of nature, the Acting Vice-Chancellor has suspended the students without any specific charges but with only an assertion that they are suspected to have violated some provisions of the regulation for student’s discipline.’
SNUS stated that universities and colleges in Swaziland often suspended student activists. Maziya said, ‘In the main, the management targets vocal leaders with clarity on students’ issues so that they are not embarrassed in negotiations.’
The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) in a statement said the suspensions and ban from university premises violated students’ rights to free assembly.
Students have been protesting about unpaid allowances which have now been paid. They are also asking for a review of allowances, scholarships to be available for all who qualify and they want to be allowed to take part in decision-making.
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