Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Obed Bapela, is set to visit the Eastern Cape today, where the highest number of initiation deaths have been reported.
He will visit the Nyandeni Local Municipality in the Oliver Tambo District as a part of government’s campaign to crack down on illegal initiation schools.
“I will not rest and sit whilst children are dying, mainly as a result of illegal schools operating in these areas,” said Deputy Minister Bapela on Wednesday, ahead of the visit.
He will be accompanied by the Superintendent General for Department of Traditional Affairs in the Eastern Cape, Aocate Stan Khanyile, as well as officials from the police, regional prosecuting authority.
The deputy minister has welcomed Premier Phumulo Masualle’s call for a summit on initiation deaths to be held in September.
Deputy Minister Bapela has partnered with the national Department of Health, the South African Police Services and the National House of Traditional Leaders, together with various social stakeholders to ensure a zero tolerance towards initiation fatalities this initiation season.
Government has further called on traditional leaders to ensure that there are no illegal schools that are in operation in their respective areas.
The total number of young boys that have died since the start of the initiation season has risen to 26. The 21 initiates are from the Eastern Cape, four from Mpumalanga, and one from the Western Cape.
Seven people who were allegedly operating illegal schools were arrested in the Eastern Cape last Thursday. About 11 initiates were rescued from the schools.
To report illegal initiation schools, communities can call the Department of Health’s Collen Bonnecwe on 012 395 8021 or the Department of Traditional Affairs’ Modiegi Madiga on 082 822 5878 or the National House of Traditional Leaders’ Kgoshi Mahlangu on 071 461 0475 or CODEFSA’s Nkululeko Nxesi on 072 530 8090.
Source : SAnews.gov.za