Africa-Press – Eswatini. This is a moral principle we have to adopt and embrace as emaSwati. For all their political controversies, the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) have something to celebrate, of course, they have something to show.Teachers deserve accolades for empowering their members through the Savings and Credit Co-operative Society (SACCO).

It is an undeniable fact that every human being hustles everyday to achieve nothing, but personal development or growth if you like. You cannot deny this, even if you wanted to. This is the reality of life. Of course, to achieve personal development, you must go through certain processes, which are sometimes difficult and unfair to others.

That is where you then need people who think outside the box, people who make impossible situations possible.

This is called thinking outside the box and SNAT has done just that through their co-operative, thank you very much.

The SACCO is a teachers’ savings scheme, whose membership is made up of teachers, lecturers in colleges and institutions of higher learning in the country, along with employees of the society and those of SNAT.

It was formed and launched in 1986 with the objective to promote the economic interests of its members in accordance with the co-operative principles and the encouragement of members, in the spirit and practice of thrift, mutual and self-help. Our sister publication, the Times of Eswatini, carried the story, revealing that members of the co-operative were set to share E47.3 million.


Now, that’s a lot of money to share for the reported 12 000 active members of this society. I’m sure those good with mathematics have already made their calculations on how much each member stands to get. Only the billionaires of the world can regard such money as a drop in the ocean, but the remuneration of our teachers certainly cannot put them at that level because this is the kind of money that changes the life of an ordinary liSwati immediately and effectively.

According to the story, members are set to share the E47.3 million as interest on savings and dividends on shares. This is contained in the co-operative’s budget income statement for the 2024/25 financial year, which projected that over E49.5 million would be obtained as surplus before distribution. Now, that’s a huge achievement.

This, as stated in the story, is contained in a report signed by the Board Chairperson, Gugu Mabuza, and presented by the Treasurer, Nkosiyabongwa Dlamini. Apparently, this was handed down to members in a special annual general meeting (AGM) held last Saturday at the Mavuso Trade and Exhibition Centre, and attended by 2 777 members. The membership was also informed that interest on loans was budgeted at E102 621 391.13 in the 2024/2025 financial year. This budget interest was highlighted as E9.3 million higher than the projected actual interest income for the 2023/2024 year.

The society received commission on monthly premiums paid to Orchard Insurance, which included credit life funeral cover and family support. It is fair to say that Christmas has come early for the SNAT Co-operative members, especially in such tough economic times experienced not just in the country, but other African states as well. We can all agree that money is very scarce these days, except for those privileged few.

You even find a lot of people who are employed broke hours after payday, a situation that depicts the financial struggles most people are going through in silence. That’s why a member of the SNAT Co-operative must be jumping with joy at this very moment and rightly so. Patience has, indeed, been a virtue for them and they deserve the financial rewards. This should be an eye-opener for other sectors of the country’s economy including my very own, the media. We see a lot of teachers who have built houses for their families, while others have started successful businesses through dividends from the very same co-operative.

Life is probably good for them, but the very opposite can be said of journalists in the country, most of whom look pitiful even on payday. It is unfortunate that this noble profession has gone to the dogs and they are having a feast on it. This is a profession that is supposed to have standards like the teaching or law professions but sadly, in my view, these expected standards are dropping. There are structures within the profession in the country that should be coming up with proper schemes for journalists like the SNAT money-making co-operative.

Fortunately, we have a Minister of Information Communication and Technology Savannah Maziya who believes we are capable of regulating ourselves as journalists. We have to regulate ourselves through creation of credit schemes.

The onus is now on us not to disappoint her. Her eloquence and confidence when addressing matters gives a lot of hope, I must say and quite honestly, she makes a lot of sense when she speaks.


It is time we see the value of the people that were assigned to call the shots on behalf of journalists in the country. Here, I am referring to the powers-that-be, which include the Eswatini National Association of Journalists, Eswatini Editors Forum and Eswatini Press Club. They should be taking a leaf from the SNAT Co-operative success story by empowering journalists financially.

This is possible through the creation of such credit and co-operative schemes.I am sure local journalists also want to own their houses, drive cars of their dreams and leave legacies, but such demand good leaders who will think outside the box.Even textile firm bosses can come up with co-operative society to assist their employees, it can be done. It is an open secret that salary pay is very low in those places of employment. You are basically living from hand to mouth when you work in textile firms. We have carried a number of articles where employees of textile firms are complaining about poor salaries. How about having a co-operative that will be designed to benefit those poor workers?

The textile firm industry in the country is massive, consuming a large share of the so-called working class. I am sure there are over 12 000 people employed in textile firms operating in different parts of the country. Some of these textile workers are even operating secret stokvels just to make extra cash, given the peanuts they are paid. This has to change.

A few days ago, there was another interesting story carried by the Times of Eswatini, exposing the alleged theft of meat by a police officer in one of the palaces. While many, especially on social media focused on the funny side of this alleged act, maybe we need to look beyond his act of stealing and consider the compelling factors that made him commit such. Bantfu balambile langephandle bekunene.

Again, this speaks to the struggles people are going through and clearly, it does not matter whether you are a police officer, warder or soldier. These are still emaSwati who need financial empowerment like the SNAT Co-operative, to achieve personal growth. We cannot deny the fact that most people in the country die poor, but if all the sectors can start thinking along the lines of SNAT Co-operative, maybe and just maybe, emaSwati will stay clear of debts that eventually lead to poverty.

This should be part of the ‘Nkwe!’ approach as espoused by His Majesty the King. The sectors in the country’ economy must also be seen to be playing their role towards ending poverty among emaSwati. Still on SNAT, while we applaud them for the success of their co-operative, a blind eye cannot be turned on the rigmarole playing itself out in the teaching profession. Until we separate politics from education, the education system in the country will continue not to make sense to some of us.

The Minister of Education and Training Owen Nxumalo has already set the ball rolling in addressing the challenges by appointing a task committee and let us see a committed participation of SNAT in this exercise, like we are seeing with their co-operative. The commitment we are seeing from some SNAT leaders when attending court cases is the same energy we want to see from them in addressing the education challenges.

The education minister has put it point-blank that education standards have dropped in the country and this is not just his responsibility to change, but SNAT and other relevant stakeholders as well. Let us not forget that teachers carry the important part of grooming future leaders of this country, people that will drive the economy with informed decisions. This makes education very key in producing such leaders.

It is good to note that the SNAT secretary general is part of the 21-member task team announced by the minister to look into how these challenges can be addressed within six months. This task committee is dominated mostly by individuals with teaching experience, which again underlines the importance of SNAT’s contribution and commitment in this exercise. For once, let us put politics aside and look after the interests of our school-going kids.

Source: times

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