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19 initiates die in Eastern Cape

Most of the deaths have been as a result of dehydration and assault.

FILE: Mamkeli Ngam says officials have had to rescue 80 initiates from some schools. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Just two weeks into the initiation season, 19 initiates have died in the Eastern Cape.

Three deaths were reported in the Barkly East and Whittlesea areas yesterday.

Most of the deaths have been as a result of dehydration and assault, while it's believed one initiate took his own life.

Eastern Cape Traditional Affairs spokesperson Mamkeli Ngam said, "We've lost 19 young lives and the biggest number comes from Chris Hani Municipality with 10 [lives lost]."

Ngam says officials have had to rescue 80 initiates from some schools.

"Twenty-two have been sent to hospital for immediate medical attention; it's a crisis in our province."

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