The cooperative governance and traditional affairs department will work with traditional leaders, the police and the National Prosecuting Authority to curb deaths during the upcoming initiation season, Deputy Minister Obed Bapela says.
A large number of traditional initiation schools are set to open throughout the country soon.
“We are disappointed that some initiation schools were opened before the school holidays, some of which were illegal, and that, in the process, we have lost three initiates – two in Mpumalanga and one in Gauteng.
“This is not what we had expected for this season,” Bapela said.
He added that the safety of young boys was not the sole responsibility of government, it was also a societal responsibility. He called on parents and community members to only use legal initiation schools. He further condemned a high number of abductions that had been reported in Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Some of the abductions involved women who had been kidnapped to attend female initiation schools.
“We are disappointed by some traditional leaders, who, instead of working with us, work against us by allowing the opening of illegal schools.
“Most of the areas that are problematic have given us trouble, even in previous years.
“Another challenge is where parents are not willing to open criminal cases of kidnapping of their children or when children themselves run away without the consent of their parents,” said Bapela.
The deputy minister congratulated the Eastern Cape, which always has the most initiation deaths and botched initiations, as no such incidents have been reported so far.