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Renewed concerns on initiation kidnappings, deaths

Contralesa and police rescued 21 boys this week after they were abducted.

FILE: Young boys attending a traditional initiation school in Libode in the Eastern Cape Province. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Traditional Affairs Department has confirmed that at least eight boys have died at initiation schools across the country since the start of this year's circumcision season.

Deputy Minister Obed Bapela has condemned the recent spate of kidnappings, saying he will not rest while children are dying as a result of illegal schools operating in the country.

Bapela admitted that laws needed to be put into place to deal with the problem.

In the Eastern Cape, the department recorded six deaths, while two boys died in Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) and police rescued 21 boys this week after they were abducted from their homes in Orange Farm.

About 29 illegal schools have been shut down and 70 initiates have been rescued since the start of an operation between police and traditional leaders this year.

At the same time, while Contralesa has praised police for their efforts, but said they are yet to see any convictions.

Spokesperson Prince Tabane said the organisation has approached local municipalities to help enforce the bylaws but it had hit a dead end.

"Once they have a bylaw that talk to these challenges, it will be easy for them to be arrested. But now the police do their job, they take them to jail but the magistrate will release them on bail. The recent one happened in Daveyton, the case has been withdrawn."

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