Only use legal initiation schools, van Rooyen tells parents during launch of winter initiation season

CAPE TOWN, June 2 (ANA) – Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen on Thursday launched the winter initiation season with a warning that those operating illegal initiation schools will face the full might of the law.

Speaking at a media briefing in Pretoria, van Rooyen urged parents and caregivers to only use legal initiation schools.

“In 2015, during winter and summer initiation seasons, approximately 101 initiates lost their lives (most in the Eastern Cape) and in the last 10 years there has been an estimated 1000 penile amputations,” the minister said.

“We call on every parent and to play a part by ensuring that their loved ones return home safely by only using legal initiation schools. Responsible schools will not take any boy without the consent of his parents and only operate within government health guidelines.”

The minister said they had meetings with various law enforcement agencies aimed partnering with them to reduce fatalities and to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book without delay.

South Africans are urged to report illegal initiation schools to law enforcement agencies so that owners can be arrested and prosecuted.

Two weeks ago, the Witbank Magistrate court sentenced a traditional surgeon to five years imprisonment for the death of an initiate as well as contravening the Children’s Act, the minister said.

Van Rooyen said initiation practices in the summer season seem to have a higher number of deaths with 54 compared to the winter initiation season with 44 deaths.

The Eastern Cape generally experience the highest number of deaths.

The national chairperson of the Initiation Task Team convened a meeting of all stakeholders in early April. Following the meeting, provinces started with their preparations, including provincial outreach campaigns led by MECs and traditional leaders.

“We all have to play our part and ensure that these schools become places of safety and adhere to norms and standards of initiation.

“Working together we can put an end to unnecessary deaths and injuries by putting the safety of our boys and young men first and only use legal initiation schools, the minister said.

– African News Agency (ANA)

Disclaimer: This story is pulled directly from the African News Agency wire, and has not been edited by Mail & Guardian staff. The M&G does not accept responsibility for errors in any statement, quote or extract that may be contained therein.

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