Pretoria - The 37 initiates rescued from an initiation school in Erasmia were on Tuesday rushed to Phomolong Clinic for a medical check-up.
The police and municipal officials clamped down on the school and closed it down for failing to comply with the law.
They pounced on the facility after an initiate’s parents shared information about the owner failing to abide by health requirements.
The school was run by a 50-something man, who was allegedly admitted to hospital after he injured his leg while descending from the mountains.
City health inspectors told the Pretoria News that establishing a school high up on the mountain, where it would be difficult for rescue teams to go in the event of accidents, was prohibited.
The owner was not around when authorities showed up. Only four assistants were on site.
The inspectors said the owner was properly trained on how to run the facility at a workshop hosted before the initiation season.
Among problems identified was that 17 parents had not signed the requisite consent forms for their children to go there, and that initiates did not undergo medical check-ups. However, there was enough food and water.
The school was one of the 104 registered schools in the metro.
The owner was also found to be in the wrong by taking in children as young as 14 and 15. “The oldest initiate was 22 but the rest were said to be minors,” an inspector said.
Despite that, he was issued with a certificate following the training but still continued to flout the regulations, one inspector said.
Officials said some parents were contemplating opening a case with the police.
City health executive director Abel Malaka said one of the initiates was allegedly abducted and his parents had opened a criminal case at Erasmia police station.
Law-enforcement authorities and officials raided the school and rescued 37 initiates, he confirmed.
“The raid was done as part of our normal operation, checking around our precinct. The school is in Erasmia towards Hartbeespoort Dam,” Malaka said.
He confirmed that the school didn’t meet all the requirements the city had laid down for initiation schools.
The owner was identified but more details on him would be revealed once the investigation had taken place, he said.
“Parents came to collect their children."
"Those who still wish to continue with initiation will be transferred to schools that are registered and which we believe meet all our requirements,” Malaka said.
He said the owner transgressed the health requirements by not subjecting initiates to medical assessment prior to the initiation process.
“Our inspection of all schools will continue up until the end of initiation season which is the end of July,” he said.