Pretoria - Four young men have died since the start of the winter initiation season this year, Deputy Traditional Affairs Minister Obed Bapela said on Thursday.
“Three in Mpumalanga and one in the Eastern Cape,” Bapela told reporters in Pretoria.
“The three people who died in Mpumalanga, one died... at Leslie as a result of dehydration, and then the other two in an area called Verena.”
The two in Verena died from diabetes and pneumonia. They were on holiday in the area at the time and pressured to get initiated by other boys. Police were investigating the matter.
The 17-year-old Eastern Cape initiate succumbed to dehydration and hunger. He had gone to an illegal initiation school.
“A case has been opened... The name of the traditional surgeon is known,” said Bapela, who believed an arrest was imminent.
“This could have been prevented.”
He said owners of illegal schools needed to know government would not leave them alone.
“We are going to arrest you and make sure that you are prosecuted.”
He called on parents to play an active role in their children's initiation.
“Your children, when they leave, you must know they are going to the right school,” Bapela said.
The National Prosecuting Authority said last week that 23 people would be prosecuted for the deaths of young men during last year's initiation season in Mpumalanga.
At least 30 boys died at seven initiation schools in Kwaggafontein, KwaMhlanga, Verena, Delmas, Siyabuswa, Belfast, and Middelburg.
Bapela said on Thursday the Hawks were looking into those cases.
“If there was any wrongdoing or criminality, we hope those that were responsible will be dealt with.”