Committee set up to prevent initiation deaths

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pretoria - A Committee for Male Initiation Affairs has been established by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs to draw up an intervention strategy to prevent young boys dying at initiation schools.

The establishment of the committee follows the death of seven boys who were circumcised at an initiation school in KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga on Saturday.

Of the initiates who were admitted to the KwaMhlanga Hospital, three are still being treated, 11 were discharged and one died bring the total number of deaths to eight.

Departmental spokesperson Simphiwe Kunene told BuaNews on Friday that the committee would comprise of male nurses and representatives from provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders.

It is expected to look investigate the problem and come up with a strategy to prevent more deaths in the future. It will also ensure initiation schools comply with customary law requirements.

"The committee will have health workers who will go to the initiation schools and provide health requirement services while the traditional leaders will ensure that the people from initiation schools comply with the customary law requirements.

"It will be a cross-cutting representation between the district Health Department and our department as we want to avoid the re-occurring of such incidents, where initiates die in the initiation schools," Mr Kunene said.