Cape Town - Eleven young men have died during initiation practices this year, Deputy Traditional Affairs Minister Obed Bapela said on Thursday.

“Once more we call on the traditional leadership, parents, and communities to be on alert and report illegal schools, as the majority of the initiates die at these illegal schools,” he said in a statement.

Seven deaths were reported in the Eastern Cape, three in Mpumalanga, and one in the Western Cape.

In 2010, 419 young men died during initiation. This dropped to just over 100 last year after measures were agreed upon with traditional leaders.

Bapela urged traditional surgeons to work with health department services to avoid deaths, some of which were caused by dehydration and septic shock.

These surgeons should be appropriately trained and registered.

The men should get a medical check-up and receive proper after care two weeks after their initiation.

Their relatives had to be sure the men were physically and psychologically fit to undergo the customary practice.

“The department reiterates that owners of illegal initiation schools be arrested and prosecuted.

“Furthermore, focus will be given to the initiation schools in the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Western Cape, and Limpopo where there is a high enrolment of initiates.”

Sapa