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Initiation season claims 22 lives, EC hardest hit

The Eastern Cape is the hardest hit province, with 16 deaths at an initiation school.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The number of initiates who have died so far this season has risen to 22.

The Eastern Cape is the hardest hit province, with 16 deaths at initiation school, most of which are being run illegally.

The Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department says dehydration, illegal operations and failure to conduct medical fitness tests are some of the major contributors to the deaths.

Departmental spokesperson Legadima Leso says parents need to make sure initiation schools have a valid permit.

"We continue to call on all South Africans to make sure that whenever they take their children to initiation schools, they must make sure that they are registered [and that] they work within the parameters of the law."