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Families of victims of initiation schools want justice

A hearing into the deaths of young men at initiation schools across South Africa has heard that all the schools should be closed.

This file picture taken on 20 November 2008 of young boys from the Xhosa tribe attending a traditional initiation school in Libode in the Eastern Cape province. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The families of the victims of initiation schools have called for justice and for those who continue to use the practice to break the law to be put behind bars.

The CRL Rights Commission is currently holding hearings into the deaths of young men at initiation schools in South Africa.

Over the last three years, nearly 600 initiates have died in the Eastern Cape alone. Emotional scenes played during hearings as families and victims gave their testimonies.

Some family members recounted how their loved ones died at initiation schools, while others spoke of how their children were abducted and tortured.

A woman says initiation schools are no longer safe and threaten the lives of young men.

“Initiation schools were good before but right now they’re not. I ask that they close down all initiation schools. We no longer want them.”

Traditional leaders, police and National Prosecuting Authority will also be giving testimony at the commission.