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Eastern Cape winter initiations: 6 reported dead in Mhlontlo Local Municipality

In 2020, members of the South African Police Service from the Lingelethu Police station closed down two of amaBhuma in Khayelitsha. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

In 2020, members of the South African Police Service from the Lingelethu Police station closed down two of amaBhuma in Khayelitsha. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 7, 2022

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Durban: The Portfolio Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs has expressed concern about the number of illegal initiation schools operating in the Eastern Cape.

The committee is calling on the Provincial Initiation Co-ordinating Committee (PICC) to close the schools.

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“The committee expects immediate action and feedback from the PICC by Friday, July 8, when it concludes its oversight visit in Buffalo City Metro Municipality. Committee members have asked the province to confirm the number of deaths and the action taken by the PICC on illegal initiation schools. A detailed report must be presented to the committee on Friday,” said committee spokesperson, Fikile Xasa.

On Wednesday, the committee conducted oversight visits to initiation schools in Nyandeni and Ngqeleni.

Xasa, said they visited an illegal school in Xelo, in Nyandeni.

“Members of Parliament, together with provincial stakeholders, found the school full of underage initiates,” said Xasa.

“The school was also being operated by a previously convicted traditional surgeon, who was incarcerated for three years for operating an illegal initiation school. Despite running away, a case was opened against him and the parents of the under-age boys,” he said.

At another school, the committee raised concerns about initiates who might not have been screened before attending.

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Xasa said they would visit the Mhlontlo Local Municipality where six deaths have already been reported.

“The primary concern of the committee is the health and well-being of the initiates and the prevention of further deaths. The committee will also visit initiates who have been hospitalised due to serious challenges related to the actual circumcisions,” Xasa said.

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