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Contralesa condemns 'commercialising' initiation practise

Contralesa says commercialisation of cultural initiation is to blame for the lawless behaviour at schools.

FILE: Last week police rescued 11 boys who were kidnapped from Daveyton in the East Rand and taken to an initiation school in Mpumalanga. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) says the commercialisation of cultural initiation is resulting in lawless behaviour at some initiation schools.

Last week police rescued 11 boys who were kidnapped from Daveyton in the East Rand and taken to an initiation school in Mpumalanga.

Three people were arrested in connection with the kidnappings of the boys aged between 13 and 16.

However, police have reportedly dropped kidnapping charges, as the boys have refused to go home until they finish the course of their initiation.

Contralesa chairperson Prince Manene Tabane said, "It's because of commercialisation that people want to start a business out of this cultural practice. In areas where there are no traditional leaders owning the land [that's where] you will find this is rife."

Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape Health Department said on Thursday nine teenage boys are receiving urgent medical care after they were injured during botched circumcisions.

The boys had apparently undergone the procedures at unregistered traditional initiation schools without their parents' consent.

The department says it's possible more teens may have been injured.

Earlier this month, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs said new regulations proposed to govern initiation schools could see the use of modern medical practice to minimise injuries while women would also play a greater role.

At least 60,000 young boys undergo traditional circumcisions across the country annually.