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Probe into 23 initiate deaths continues

Mpumalanga police have opened 22 cases of murder after 23 boys were killed at initiation schools.

Mpumalanga police have opened 22 cases of murder after 23 boys were killed at initiation schools. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Mpumalanga police are continuing their investigation into the deaths of 23 initiates.

The provincial department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs at the weekend said they have stepped up measures to ensure future initiates are kept safe.

The 23 boys all died at registered schools in the Nkangala District since the beginning of the initiation season, two weeks ago.

The deaths have sparked fears of more to come and prompted an urgent intervention by the government.

Departmental Spokesman Simphiwe Kunene said the so-called 'Ngoma bill' will enforce stricter regulations on initiation schools, once it's enacted.

"We seek to ensure that we have all initiation schools ready and have them all comply with the health requirements."

Kunene said since hearing of the deaths they've despatched tents to the area to act as mobile clinics.

"We have despatched tents, which are being used as mobile clinics. In working with the department we are moving around these initiation schools."

He said the department is waiting for police to complete their investigation before it takes any action against the schools where the boys died.

The police have since opened 22 cases of murder.

In December last year 22-year-old Gabaediwe Motsage was stoned and beaten to death.

The police's Olebogeng Tawana said Motsage was murdered after escaping from the initiation school.

Tawana said it is believed there were fears she would reveal secrets of the initiation procedure.

"Suspects between the ages of 13 and 30 were arrested at the initiation school and charged with murder."