By Silindzelwe Nxumalo
The President of the Swaziland National Teachers Union (SNAT) President Mbongwa Dlamini could be dismissed as a teacher after he was found guilty of absenteeism for 109 days.
The SNAT President’s guilty verdict is contained in a letter addressed to him by the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) dated August 24, 2023.
Handing down Dlamini’s guilty verdict, the TSC said: “The Teaching Service Commission wishes to state that after careful consideration of all the evidence that was presented against you and the subsequent oral and written submission that was made by the initiator, the Commission has found you guilty of the charge of absenteeism without justifiable reason that was levelled against you.”
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The letter further reads: “Having found you guilty as charged, the Teaching Service Commission hereby offers you an opportunity to present yourself to the Commission on Monday, August 28 at 2:30 pm so as to present any mitigating factors you may wish the TSC must consider before deciding on the appropriate sanction pursuant to you being found guilty of absenting yourself from work for 109 days without authority and permission.”
The TSC went on to inform Dlamini to appear before the Commission on Monday and further said his non-appearance would be viewed as a waiver of his right to present mitigating factors before the issuance of the sanction by the TSC.
After this letter, Dlamini reportedly went to the TSC but could not make the presentation as requested. The Eswatini Daily News reliably established that Dlamini, through his attorney asked the TSC to give him another day because he did not get the letter that was calling him to appear before the Commission on Monday.
SNAT Secretary General Lot Vilakati said the reason they had asked the TSC to give Dlamini another day to come and mitigate was because he (Dlamini) did not receive the letter on the day it was issued because says he was out of the country on official duty hence, he did not attend the disciplinary hearing that was set by the TSC.
“In history, there has never been something like this, for someone to receive a letter two hours before and told to come and defend himself before the judgment is issued in the absence of his lawyer,” he said.
“Dlamini missed the disciplinary hearing on August 23, 2023, because he was out on an official trip in Botswana for the South African Teachers Organisation (SATO),” he said.
Vilakati said that Dlamini was an interim president for SATO, therefore he had to attend these games. “We informed the office of the PS in the Ministry of Education and Training and copied the letter to TSC, so they knew that the president was not in office. We always report to them whenever we leave the country,” he said.
Vilakati said the evidence that they were not in the country on the mentioned date was that TSC was the one which provided them and the teachers with transport for this trip. Dlamini said it was against this backdrop that they told the TSC on Monday to give them another day for mitigation where they would come prepared to defend themselves. “We are aware of the judgment which is to fire the president as it was prepared a long time ago,” he said.