Ramaphosa: Customary initiation has been infiltrated by unscrupulous people

The president was addressing the official opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament.

Equipment used at an illegal initiation school in Meadowlands. Picture: Dineo Bendile/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday said traditional leaders needed to address the issue of abuse of cultural practices like initiation, which led to the deaths of hundreds of young men.

The president was addressing the official opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament.

Ramaphosa said the Traditional Initiation Bill would help regulate the practice.

“We need to address the abuse of cultural practices that result in the violation of human rights. Customary initiation is a rite of passage for our young people to manhood and adulthood,” he said.

Ramaphosa said initiation practices were being abused.

“But it has become increasingly infiltrated by unscrupulous people and many young men are being maimed or losing their lives. It cannot be that every year we sit here and say the same thing about more needing to be done but the death toll continues to rise,” he said.