Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Students in Swaziland are planning to march to and then occupy the gates at the office of the Minister of Labour and Social Security today (31 January 2012) in a protest over the closure of their university.

They intend to stay at the office of Lutfo Dlamini, the minister, indefinitely until the government pays the money to allow the university to open and also pays students their allowances.

The University of Swaziland (UNISWA) announced last week it could not open as planned for the second semester because the government had not given it money to operate. UNISWA says it needs E22 million (US$2.8 m) each month to pay administration costs and salaries.

The government cannot pay because it is nearly broke and is struggling to meet its bills, including salaries for public servants.

It also owes some university students their allowances for the semester that ended at Christmas. Students fear allowances will not be paid for this coming semester.

Yesterday, police fired teargas at students injuring several as they protested. Police arrested at least four demonstrators after students vowed to occupy the labour ministry and clashed with peers at William Pitcher College who refused to join their protest, the AFP news agency reported.

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