Johannesburg - The African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday said the arrest of abakhwetha, who are young males undergoing a circumcision rite to mark the arrival of adulthood, in connection with the murder of a 65-year-old woman in the Eastern Cape was "disturbing".

The ANC in the Eastern Cape said "it condemns" the murder allegedly committed by the abakhwetha.

"The arrest of abakhwetha from a Berlin initiation school in the Eastern Cape over allegations of murdering a 65-year-old woman is disturbing, hurting because abakhwetha were in the process of being taught to protect their families, women and those vulnerable in society and not to murder them as alleged," said the ANC in statement attributed to the party's provincial chairperson, Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane. 

"The ANC EC sends its deepest condolences to the family of the woman who was allegedly killed by these initiates. We call on the law enforcement agencies to do a thorough investigation of this matter with splendid efficiency so that we ascertain the details of this matter and find out who killed this lady who was a mother and a relative to her people. 

"Society will not rest until details of this case are ascertained. As the ANC we encourage the police and the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] to work together to get to the bottom of this matter."

It was not immediately established when the suspects would appear before the courts.

African News Agency (ANA)