Parliament’s portfolio committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs said 13 initiates died in the Eastern Cape during December 2020 despite the province’s risk-adjusted plan to prevent fatalities. File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
Parliament’s portfolio committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs said 13 initiates died in the Eastern Cape during December 2020 despite the province’s risk-adjusted plan to prevent fatalities. File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Parliamentary committee concerned over deaths at Eastern Cape initiation schools

By Jehran Naidoo Time of article published Mar 31, 2021

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Durban - Parliament’s portfolio committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) on Wednesday expressed their concern following multiple deaths at initiation schools in the Eastern Cape.

According to the chairperson of the committee, Faith Muthambi, 13 initiates died during the summer season in December 2020.

The committee's remarks come after a meeting held on Tuesday between the Department of Traditional Affairs and the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL).

Despite safety measures put in place by the department as well as the NHTL, the committee explained that most of the fatalities were a result of dehydration and alleged fighting. The deaths also took place despite the Eastern Cape government’s risk-adjusted plan to prevent fatalities.

Muthambi said that the committee should be provided with a full report on consequence management in order to make sure that there was accountability. The report should include, among other things, the number of initiates who were discharged with injuries and support given to the bereaved families.

“Our role as Parliament does not stop with the conclusion of the legislative process, but continues in respect of monitoring and oversight. We will therefore be continuously engaging all the relevant stakeholders as to be kept abreast of developments in the implementation of this important statute,” Muthambi said in a statement on Wednesday.

Furthermore, the chairperson said that there needed to be measures in place to support parents whose children died at the initiation schools.

Speaking during a press briefing in January on the deaths at initiation schools, Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane said that 22 initiates were admitted into hospitals around the province due to botched circumcisions and dehydration.

Mabuyane said that the deaths could have been prevented.

“This clearly means that there is a lot that is wrong that requires government’s attention in conjunction with traditional leaders and parents of initiates. We condemn any wrong behaviour taking place at initiation schools,” Mabuyane said earlier this year.

African News Agency (ANA)

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