EC Cogta labels summer initiation season 'disastrous'

The death toll of initiation deaths recorded in that province currently stands at 17.

Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The Eastern Cape Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has described the summer initiation season in the province as disastrous.

The death toll of initiation deaths recorded in that province currently stands at 17.

Cogta says the majority of the deaths were as a result of dehydration, septicemia and one initiate allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself.

The department has called for a thorough police investigation into the deaths of the initiates.

Cogta’s Mamkeli Ngam said: “On the issue of provision of water, water is a basic human right as enshrined in the Constitution. Anybody who refuses the initiates water during this season, or any other season, is breaking the law and must be arrested.”

Ngam says three traditional surgeons have been arrested in the OR Tambo District Municipality area in connection with some of these incidents.

He emphasises their disappointment and shock at the initiates death toll.

“The MEC is calling for police investigations to be conducted so that more arrests can be affected.”

He has also lauded the work of monitoring teams who've rescued scores of initiates across the province who were in need of immediate medical attention.