1,100 initiates rescued from illegal schools in EC
Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Obed Bapela says of the 1,100 initiates, 145 are in hospital.
JOHANNESBURG - Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Obed Bapela has confirmed more than 1,000 young boys have been rescued from illegal initiation schools in the Eastern Cape since the start of the season.
The minister is in the province today where 21 initiates have already lost their lives while undergoing the rite of passage.
Nationally 24 initiates have died due to botched circumcisions and assault by caregivers.
Bapela says the Eastern Cape has the highest number of illegal schools.
"Already 1,100 initiates have been rescued from illegal schools and 145 of them are hospitalised."
Meanwhile, the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department said on Tuesday it will work to ensure that all illegal initiation schools were shut down.
Government and traditional authorities said the operation of illegal initiation schools in parts of the country had made a mess out of an ancient cultural practice.
Bapela said, "This is what we don't like to see; our culture being undermined, ridiculed and becoming a laughing stock."
Chairperson of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) Prince Manene Tabane said the conduct of some initiates was also a growing cause of concern.
"These boys will do as they please. After they are apprehended, when they come back they will start to behave contrary to society's expectations."
Bapela says at least 400 illegal initiation schools have been shut down in the Eastern Cape.
He says illegal schools are mushrooming all over the province.
"Over 400 of them have been closed down but we suspect there could be more still operating and running."