Cape Town - Criminal charges have been laid against four illegal traditional initiation schools in Cape Town.
This was revealed by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), accompanied by members of the Provincial Initiation Co-ordination Committee.
The charges laid against the initiation schools are in terms of the Customary Initiation Act of 2022.
DCAS issued notices to the four schools that they had two calendar days to close but they did not respond despite receiving them.
Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Anroux Marais said her department's role was to ensure that there were no fatalities at initiation schools.
“The role of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, together with its partners, is to ensure that our young men return from this important rite of passage alive and healthy, while all the important and relevant cultural values are upheld and honoured,” Marais said.
All four schools are situated within the Cape Town metro, Nyanga, Gugulethu, Philippi and Khayelitsha.
Sam Mkhiwane, provincial secretary of the Western Cape Initiation Forum Council, said they had communicated with DCAS and the premier’s office but received no response.
“They were ignoring us. We were informing them that we are starting on the 1st of October, all the initiation schools. We wrote the email on behalf of those initiation schools. We were informed that we could make a special request for that,” he said.
DCAS confirmed that the four initiation schools did not attend training and information sessions for cultural practitioners in October and early November.
“There were zero deaths in the Western Cape, now they have decided to open a case. They are disturbing us, they want to see the negative results,” Mkhiwane said.
Marais said they would continue to enforce the law very firmly in the interests of the initiates.
“In our quest to have no deaths of Western Cape young men this initiation season, no illegal customary initiation schools will be allowed to operate.”