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Dept of Traditional Affairs: Initiation Bill won't take power away from leaders

The bill comes after the deaths of many young men, most being in the Eastern Cape

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

JOHANNESBURG - The Traditional Affairs Department says that the Customary Initiation Bill does not aim to take power away from traditional leaders but to better regulate the sector.

Public hearings on the bill began on Wednesday in Parliament.

The bill comes after the deaths of many young men, most being in the Eastern Cape.

Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Obed Bapela said: “Those elders are now being identified for their role as the custodian elders of traditional leadership and one of it is the initiation ceremony. Therefore, we want traditional leadership to go back into that space, take control and be in charge.”

The proposed law prescribes that no boy under the age of 16 can undergo initiation and also advises on sanctions in instances where there is non-compliance.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)