MBABANE: Sibongile Mazibuko, the President of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress(NNLC) has urged parents to stand firmly and refuse to pay school fees for last year while preparing themselves for a mass protest over the education crisis.
Speaking to this Swaziland News on Monday, the NNLC President said they were ready to call a protest march over the decision by King Mswati’s Government to ‘rob’ parents by demanding schools fees for last year despite that children did not attend school.
“We are ready to call a protest march over this matter, parents must be ready because we might call the protest anytime, no parent must pay school fees for last year. Those who paid the fees in full last year before the lockdown, that money must be used for this year. We are aware that services were never rendered by the schools in the midst of the lockdown, members of the schools support staff were not paid their salaries, no money was used on electricity and other costs because schools were closed, then what are the parents paying for?”asked the NNLC President.
The sentiments of the NNLC President come after Bertram Stewart, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education who was speaking on behalf of King Mswati’s Government told the Swazi Observer that parents must pay school fees for last year.
Brian Sangweni, the Spokesperson of the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) said as an organisation they were against the decision by Government to force parents to pay school fees for services that were never rendered as children were not at school.
“It was wrong in the first place for parents to pay for education, under the people’s Government, education will be free” said the PUDEMO Spokesperson.
Sithembiso Dlamini, the Director of Wear Your Graduation Gown(WYGG), an organisation that promotes education in the country said they strongly condemned the decision by Government to demand fees for last year at the time when the financial struggles of the people was worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The situation is worse now, people lost their jobs, some of the Swazis who were assisting Orphans and Vulnerable Children(OVCs) with fees were retrenched. This means before we even talk about school fees for last year, we must understand that we have children whose parents won’t afford to pay school fees for this year after they lost their jobs” said the WYGG Director.
Protesters during a protest march