Friday, March 29, 2019

Girl, 12, has fingers broken at Swaziland school in latest case of illegal caning

A 12-year-old girl in Swaziland / eSwatini had her fingers broken when she was caned 25 times across her hand, in the latest case of illegal corporal punishment used in schools.

The girl at Mkhuzweni Primary School had failed 25 questions in a test. She had missed classes previously and was not prepared for the test, the Times of Swaziland reported on Friday (29 March 2019).

It reported, ‘This resulted in her sustaining serious injuries such that she fractured some of her fingers.  She was not the only one who was punished as her other classmates received 18- 20 strokes depending on how many questions they did not get right.

‘A teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said other parents came to complain to the school’s headteacher about the beating of their children.’

The Times said Regional Education Officer of Manzini Mlimi Mamba confirmed he attended to the case. Deputy Police Information and Communications Officer Inspector Nosipho Mnguni said the matter had been reported and investigations were ongoing.

Corporal punishment was banned in Swazi schools by the Ministry of Education and Training in 2015, but caning continues. There are many reports from across Swaziland that pupils have been brutalised by their teachers.

In a debate in the Swazi Parliament in March 2017 members called for the cane to be brought back into schools. The MPs said the positive discipline adopted in schools was causing problems for teachers because they no longer knew how to deal with wayward pupils. 

There had been 4,556 cases of ‘severe corporal punishment’ of children in Swaziland’s schools over the previous four years, Star Africa reported in March 2016.

As recently as November 2018 it was reported police were investigating St Theresa’s Primary School, Manzini, following an allegation that teachers whipped children to make them do better in their exams. In June 2018 teachers reportedly caned every pupil at Mbuluzi High School for poor performance. 

In August 2017 it was reported boys Salesian High, a Catholic school, were forced to take down their trousers and underpants to allow teachers to beat them on the bare buttocks.

See also

Children fear beatings, miss school

Cane banned in Swazi schools

Teachers beat boys on naked buttocks

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Swaziland students hold hostage lecturers accused of rape and sexual assault

University lecturers in Swaziland / eSwatini were reportedly held hostage in their offices amid allegations that they had raped and sexually assaulted students.

It happened at the Kwaluseni campus of the University of Eswatini (formally UNISWA – University of Swaziland) on Wednesday (27 March 2019) and followed continuing allegations of mistreatment of students by academic staff.

A lecturer allegedly raped a 21-year-old student from the university last Friday, the Swazi Observer reported.

The newspaper reported, ‘Students stormed the offices of the lecturers alleged to have sexually abused students and held them hostage. They proceeded to write messages on the doors to their offices, making it clear that they were tired of lecturers who abused students.’

It followed a separate allegation reported in the Observer’s Sunday edition (24 March 2019) that a lecturer beat a pregnant student in full view of her colleagues. The newspaper reported the two had been in a persona relationship.

UNESWA Vice Chancellor Professor Justice Thwala said the lecturers had been suspended pending an independent inquiry. The police have been informed about the rape allegation.

Students have suffered sexual harassment for many years at the university, which has Swaziland’s absolute monarch King Mswati III as its Chancellor. In 2017 details of harassment that had been taking place for years was made public. This included a male administrator showing his private parts to women students and demanding sexual favours from them before offering assistance.

In November 2012 it was reported at a Colloquium on Sexual Harassment in Higher Learning Institutions held at the University of Swaziland that some male lecturers demanded sex in return for good grades.

Women in all walks of life in Swaziland suffer sexual harassment routinely. In 2017 Women and Law in Southern Africa - Swaziland (WLSA) reported male bosses demanded sexual favours from their domestic workers.

In July 2016 it was reported that women temporary employees at Swaziland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) had allegedly been forced to have sex with their bosses to keep their jobs. 

See also

Parents trade own girls for sex

Monday, March 25, 2019

Swaziland people pay E1 billion for absolute King’s upkeep, but it’s kept a secret

An independent magazine in Swaziland / eSwatini has reported that absolute monarch King Mswati III and his family were allocated E1 billion for their spending from the national budget in the past year, but this information has been kept secret from the public.

The Nation, a well-established monthly comment magazine, said this came at a time when the Finance Minister Neal Rijkenberg said the kingdom could not afford to pay public servants cost of living salary adjustments.

The Nation reported (March 2019) that expenditure on the King was controlled by the Swazi National Treasury (SNT). Although the Auditor General audits SNT accounts each year its report is not made public. The Nation reported, ‘Audited statements of the SNT were removed from the public eye in 1992 when then Minister of Finance, Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, was stung by numerous revelations of scandals of gross misuse of public funds by that institution.’

Dlamini went on to be appointed Prime Minister by King Mswati and held office for a total of 17 years.

Citing an SNT report, the Nation said the E1 billion was ‘the entire budget for the royal households’ allocated for the financial year 2018 – 2019. The sum compares to the E2 billion budgeted for health; E1.5 billion for Defence and E1.4 billion for Agriculture.

In Swaziland nearly seven in ten of the 1.2 million population live in abject poverty on incomes less than the equivalent of US$3 per day (about E43). 

Swaziland has been regularly criticised by the United States for not revealing full details of the budget to the people. The U.S. Department of State in its 2018 Fiscal Transparency Report reviewed the kingdom’s budget and concluded that while budget documents ‘provided a general picture of government revenues and expenditures, revenues from natural resources and land leases were not included in the budget. Expenditures to support the royal family were included in the budget but lacked specific detail and were not subject to the same oversight as the rest of the budget.’

 In Swaziland King Mswati controls natural mineral rights. He holds 25 percent of mining royalties ‘in trust’ for the Swazi Nation. The government also takes 25 percent. The Fiscal Transparency Report stated, ‘Criteria and procedures for awarding natural resource extraction licenses and contracts were outlined in law, but the opacity [lack of clarity] of the procedures, which involve submitting applications for licenses directly to the King, cast doubt on whether the government actually followed the law in practice. 

‘Basic information on natural resource extraction awards was not always publicly available.’

The U.S releases annual reports on fiscal transparency for countries that receive its financial assistance to ‘help ensure U.S. taxpayer money is used appropriately’. It said Swaziland had shown no improvement in fiscal transparency since the previous report in 2017.

See also

Swaziland King prepares for lavish birthday celebrations, despite dire poverty in the kingdom

No let up on poverty in Swaziland as absolute King makes public display of his vast wealth

Swazi budget a tale of woes