Six university students in Swaziland were arrested at a court house when they went to give support to one of their leaders charged after a protest over poor educational standards.
It happened on Wednesday (13 September 2017) at Malkerns Circuit Court where Sibusiso Siyaya, the President of the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) student representative council, faced a charge of obstructing police.
The students were taken for questioning at Malkerns police post, according to the Swazi Observer on Thursday. The newspaper reported that Siyaya confirmed the incident. Police would neither confirm nor deny the arrests.
Siyaya appeared in court charged with obstructing a police officer who was trying to arrest another student. He was bailed until 1 November 2017.
On Sunday the Sunday Observer newspaper in Swaziland reported that Siyaya had been threatened with a beating and verbally abused on Friday when he went to Malkerns police post to inquire about the wellbeing of students arrested during protests at UNISWA. The police action had been recorded on a mobile phone.
Students are protesting a number of issues including:
· Lack of accommodation for more than 600 students who are mostly those doing their first year.
· Release of book allowances currently not accessible at the bookshop, although lectures have begun.
· Refectory prices were abruptly increased without any consultation.
· The university never signed a circular which was distributed to all tertiary institutions by the Swazi Government which meant sponsored students would be paid directly from the Ministry of Labour. Students and not through the university administration.
· Government-sponsored students have not received meal allowances, although the university opened three weeks ago.
· Reverse a decision by UNISWA to ban student body meetings.
POLICE BEATING THREAT CAUGHT ON AUDIO
SWAZI STUDENT LEADERS ARRESTED
PROTESTS CLOSE SWAZILAND UNIVERSITY