Contralesa slams 'inconsiderate' Cogta deputy minister over initiation stance

The traditional practice has been suspended since the country went into lockdown in March.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) is expected to make an announcement on Wednesday on its official position regarding the summer initiation season.

The traditional practice has been suspended since the country went into lockdown in March.

On Tuesday, Cooperative Governance Deputy Minister Obed Bapela clarified that while the country was on level one of the lockdown, initiation schools remained closed in a bid to contain the spread of COVID 19.

“We want to clarify the confusion he has caused to the nation so that we can then correct that and give the nation a proper view. The danger of him making such a statement is that he can create a big problem than we anticipated,” said Contralesa spokesperson Zolani Mkiva.

Traditional leaders have slammed Bapela and accused him of undermining and insulting the rite of passage.

“Obed Bapela is insensitive, inconsiderate, walking in water, riding a high horse and taking us for granted. He reminds us of the Bantu Affairs Commissioners of the colonial order,” said Kgoshi Mathupa Mokoena, the president of Contralesa.

Contralesa convened an urgent meeting on Thursday morning to discuss a way forward.

“Contralesa wishes to state categorically that Mr Obed Bapela has no authority nor mandate to issue such a statement. He is being irresponsible to say the least. He is not only undermining President Cyril Ramaphosa in his theatrics, but he is insulting the entire institution of traditional leadership in the country,” Contralesa said in a statement on Tuesday.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa has been consulting us on all matters that resonates with traditional leaders and their communities. He has done this with utmost respect and honour. It is disappointing that a deputy minister can spoil the good name of the state president.”

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