MBABANE: Officers of His Majesty’s Correctional Services have established the Eswatini Correctional Services Staff Association, they are demanding that Government must as a matter of urgency award them a salary increment and further allocate them decent accommodation.
Speaking to this Swaziland News on Friday, Mzwandile Dlamini, the Secretary General of the Correctional Staff Association said in 2014, Government awarded 14% salary increment to their superiors and they were left behind. He said apart from the financial struggles faced by the junior officers, they were also accommodated in horrible houses that posed a danger to them and Government was doing nothing to resolve their plight.
“We have written a letter to the Commissioner General informing her about the establishment of the Staff Association, this is in accordance with the Correctional Services Act. The letter that we sent to the Commissioner General comes after we noticed that Government was delaying to release our recognition certificate ,so we decided to start working and demanding for our rights, we cannot wait for the certificate to start demanding for our rights. Officers are struggling, Government awarded a salary increment for senior officers only from Senior Superintendent upwards and we have been waiting all these years, nothing is being communicated to us. This Association has received massive support from officers and we would like to urge those who might be tricked by the Executive Command by promising them promotions just to silence them not to fight for their rights not to be silenced. This thing of silencing officers by promising them promotions cannot work, we are over 2000, and you must ask yourself, if all of us can keep quiet and refrain from fighting for our rights can they afford to promote all of us? It’s just a strategy to suppress the officers and I believe there is nothing wrong with fighting for your right as long as you stand for the truth”, said the Secretary General.
In a letter addressed to Phindile Dlamini, the Commissioner General, the Correctional Association Secretary General said this Association has been established in accordance with the Correctional Services Act of 2017.
“This is a Staff Association formed by Correctional Officers under your Department with the sole purpose of addressing their bread and butter issues with the Correctional Services Department and Government. We hope we will have a healthy working relationship with your office as we undertake our members' mandate”, read the letter addressed to the Commissioner General.
A questionnaire was sent to the Commissioner General including the copy of the letter, however, she had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
Reached for comments, Wander Mkhonza, the Secretary General of the Almagated Trade Union of Swaziland(ATUSWA) said as workers, they were very happy that finally workers within the Correctional Services were now coming together to discuss issues affecting their welfare.
“We are aware of the challenges they are facing, despite their financial challenges they are sometimes forced to contribute for the King’s birthday even though some of them can’t spoil their own children with birthdays because of the low salaries. It doesn’t matter whether they call it a Staff Association or a union, the Industrial Relations Act recognises both as the same, we want to encourage them to fight for their rights and we will assist where necessary because these officers are our brothers and sisters”,said the ATUSWA Secretary General.
Correctional Services Commissioner General Phindile Dlamini