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Govt warns against illegal initiation schools

Five boys have already died this initiation season, which ends in two weeks.

FILE: Five boys have already died this initiation season, which ends in two weeks.Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The ministerial task team set up to prevent deaths during the circumcision season has warned that parents who send their children to illegal initiation schools will be arrested and charged with attempted murder.

The task team was set up by the Health Department in collaboration with the Traditional Affairs Department and the Council of Traditional Leaders.

Only schools approved by the Council of Traditional Leaders are legal.

Five boys have already died during initiation season which ends in two weeks.

Chairperson of the task team Nkosi Mahlangu said illegitimate traditional healers will be the focus of their investigation.

"If we find out a parent willingly took their child to an illegal school they will be charged with attempted murder."

Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said 23 people will be prosecuted for the deaths of young men during last year's initiation season in Mpumalanga.

At least 30 teenagers died at seven initiation schools in that province, along with another 30 deaths across the country.