Contralesa accuses parents of negligence over illegal initiation schools

Just a week into the winter initiation season three boys have already been reported dead.

FILE: A picture taken on 20 November 2009 of young boys from the Xhosa tribe attending a traditional initiation school in Libode in the Eastern Cape Province. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) has accused parents whose children fall victim to bogus initiation schools of negligence.

Just a week into the winter initiation season, three boys have already been reported dead.

Contralesa said in some cases, parents should be held criminally liable.

The organisation's Chief Mwela Nonkonyana said: “Parents are negligent; in fact, they're being coerced by their children to go to these illegal circumcision schools. Therefore, we need a provision to make sure that parents themselves must be held liable.”

Contralesa said it was concerned because they had declared zero deaths in the launch of the initiation season last week.

“So far, we’ve got three deaths and all those three are all from illegal initiation schools. They didn’t even follow the traditional and legal route,” Nonkonyana added.

Last year, out of about 34 boys who died during the season, 23 were from the Eastern Cape alone.


Meanwhile, police were investigating a kidnapping case after 21 Gauteng boys were rescued from an illegal initiation school in Pretoria.

The children were between the ages of 12 and 17 years old and were from Etwatwa, Daveyton, and Benoni.

It was alleged the suspects took the boys by force more than two weeks ago.

Gauteng police spokesperson Kay Makhubela said they were also investigating allegations that the families had to pay more than R2,000 before the boys were freed.

“We are going to make sure that all the investigations are completed and those people who are involved in stealing money from people by force are arrested,”

He added: “If parents see that their kids are missing, they should go to the police to report them as missing persons or kidnapping.”