Parliament to probe initiation deaths

"The speaker of the National Assembly has agreed to chief whip Dr Mathole Motshekga's request that Parliament conduct a debate on the tragic deaths of initiates … ," spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.

"The National Assembly programming committee this morning scheduled the debate for May 29 2013, at 2pm."

On Wednesday, opposition parties demanded inquiries and strong action from the government after the deaths of 33 initiates in Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

On Monday, Mpumalanga police said 27 boys had died in initiation schools in the past two weeks. Colonel Leonard Hlathi said 26 of the deaths were being investigated as murder cases and one as an inquest.

Police said there had also been six deaths related to initiation schools in Limpopo.

'Blatant abuse'
"We are shocked and saddened by the death of these young people in the areas of Kwaggafontein, Middelburg, Verena, KwaMhlanga, Belfast, Siyabuswa and Sekhukhune in Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces during the initiation and circumcision rituals," said Mothapo.

Initiation schools were supposed to prepare young men for manhood and not serve as death camps, he said.

"We are dismayed by the blatant abuse of our cultural and traditional practices by individuals who have turned them into lucrative business enterprises with no regard for human life."

Mothapo said suggestions from the preliminary investigation that negligence was behind the deaths was disturbing. – Sapa

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