Durban - A men's forum has called on government, traditional leaders and communities to take an uncompromising stand in ending the "murder" of initiates, as the number of deaths reached 25.
Working under the banner of the Takuwani Riime Men’s Movement, the "culturally and religiously diverse" group said on Tuesday that the "murders of innocent initiates in the name of cultural practice" had to be stopped.
"Although we welcome the inquests related to the deaths of the initiates by police, our primary interest is not only in the punitive measures through the criminal justice system of those who have committed these crimes against humanity, but rather in the prevention of the senseless loss of the lives of the initiates," said the forum in a press statement.
The group said it supported the work of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) to immediately suspend the traditional initiation season in all the affected regions in South Africa "until all measures in place are satisfactory so that no more lives will be lost."
A strengthening of the multi-stakeholder plan of action was also needed, said the forum, as was mobilisation of affected communities to prevent deaths.