About 200 initiation school principals, traditional leaders and healers, metro police and South African Police Service (Saps) officers attended the initiation school workshop hosted by City of Tshwane MMC for health Sakkie du Plooy at the council chambers on Tuesday.
Du Plooy addressed delegates about the health department’s aim to ensure community members had access to the city’s clinic, to be examined, before they went to initiation school.
“I’m determined to provide necessary support and ensure clinics are open to all initiates who require their services,” Du Plooy said.
In the past five years, the city has reported 13 deaths in initiation schools from dehydration, fire and other causes.
Last year, four people lost their lives during the initiation season: three initiates were burnt to death in Mabopane Block and one died in Mamelodi Hospital.
Du Plooy said the city valued the lives of all residents of Tshwane and strove for zero incidents this year.
“The City of Tshwane acknowledges a dedicated team comprising environmental health practitioners, metro police, Saps, traditional healers and leaders, initiation school principals and members of the communities, who work tirelessly for the safety of our children.”
Du Plooy pledged to provide initiation schools with full water tanks.
He added that they would work with the cooperative governance and traditional affairs department, along with the national monitoring team, to close down initiation schools that did not comply with by-laws.
The MMC said he was aware of the responsibility “we have when it comes to the Ndebele people starting their initiation school next month”.
Four years ago, the Ndebele people had 4 000 people in their initiation schools.
They believed this number might double this year.
“We are determined, as the city, to ensure that no prospective initiates, both men and women, come back in a coffin this season,” he said.
Du Plooy closed the workshop by wishing all initiation school principals a safe initiation season, free from abduction, torture and other forms of malpractice.