Cogta records decrease in number of initiation deaths

The number is down from more than 40 fatalities during the same period last year.

FILE: A picture of young boys from the Xhosa tribe attending a traditional initiation school in Libode in the Eastern Cape. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has recorded a decrease in the number of initiation deaths this year.

Despite this, 27 boys still died over the recent winter initiation season from among other things, botched circumcisions.

This is down from more than the 40 fatalities during the same period last year.

The department's Legadima Leso said: "There were a number of interventions that government had put in place. Some of those include road shows, embarking on a very high communication campaign alerting parents and communities that it is their responsibilities to make sure that these young men are safe."

On Monday, the department said too many parents were ignoring regulations around traditional initiations.

Officials said illegal initiation schools were constantly being shut down.

Leso said: "It's your responsibility [as a parent] to ensure that you are able to check whether the school the child is going to is registered and the surgeon at the school is registered."

Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape is the hardest hit province, with at least 16 deaths at initiation schools, most of which were being run illegally.

Cogta said dehydration, illegal operations and the failure to conduct medical fitness tests were some of the major contributors to the deaths.