25/06/2002. Initiation ceremony gone wrong..... four young boys died during the night in the hills outside Heidelberg during at an initiation school. Initiates huddle together in their enclosure as the police conduct their investigation.

Police are investigating the deaths of 27 boys who attended initiation schools in Mpumalanga, police said on Monday.

“Twenty-seven boys have died in initiation schools in the last two weeks,” Colonel Leonard Hlathi said.

He said 26 of these were now being investigated as murder cases and one remained an inquest. Hlathi said no arrests had been made and police expected the results of the post mortems soon.

“It's not a question of arresting currently. It's a question of effectively investigating these cases.”

Once all the information was collected it would be presented to the national director of public prosecutions for a decision on how to proceed.

Provincial community safety, security, and liaison MEC Vusi Shongwe welcomed the police decision to investigate the deaths.

He said because there were indications the initiates died due to bleeding excessively and dehydration it was clear someone should be held responsible.

“We support the police in their bid to unearth the truth and hope there are suspects that will be arrested soon,” he said in a statement.

“As the department we have confidence that the police will do a proper investigation in order to single out those responsible.”

Shongwe called on people to allow police to complete the investigation. - Sapa