Government to be vigilant during initiation season

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

With the initiation season in full swing, the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Department says it will be vigilant and continue to work with stakeholders in an effort to address challenges and end the death of initiates. 

The ministry will work with role players including parents, traditional leaders, the Health Department, South African Police Service (SAPS) and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) during this initiation season.

The summer initiation takes place in provinces including the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Western Cape and the North West.

This season will see young men across the country embarking on this sacred path, which has been a central part of the traditional African cultures since time immemorial and a necessary process of many African communities.

Like other seasons before, this summer season might bring about some unwanted challenges like abductions, kidnappings, illegal and unregistered schools and the deaths of initiates.

“In as much as government will remain visible and vigilant in this period, we are urging communities, especially parents, caregivers or legal guardians to play their part and support our goal of ensuring zero tolerance to challenges that emanates during initiation seasons,” said Minister Des van Rooyen on Tuesday.

Deputy Minister Obed Bapela emphasised that as government they will not be able to bring an end to this illegal initiation schools if communities are not involved.

“It takes communities to raise responsible young men, who can contribute positively to the future of our country,” said Deputy Minister Bapela.

Government has put in place provincial monitoring teams together with the law enforcement agencies who will be hard at work responding to challenges on the ground and dealing accordingly with those who continue to be perpetrators.

The department has called the coordinating forums in provinces to continue being vigilant and report illegal schools within their communities.

In addition to these, the department urged parents to also play an active role and be involved in this process of initiation from the beginning to the end.

In pursuit of the “Zero Deaths” campaign, Deputy Minister Bapela urged parents to ensure that their children are medically and psychologically prepared to enter this sacred path.

This initiation season is expected to register high temperatures weather and excessive heat is possible, hence the need for initiates to remain hydrated.

“Parents should always know that they cannot in anyway abdicate their responsibilities on their children, even when the initiates are at the initiation schools, they are still responsible for their well-being.”

Parents are also urged and encouraged to work in partnership with traditional leaders, government, stakeholders and role players to ensure the creation of a conducive environment for a successful and safe initiation season.

Parents, caregivers, legal guardians and communities have to follow the following tips before initiates embark on this process:

  • Initiates should drink lots of water ahead of undergoing this process.
  • Ensure initiates are psychologically ready.
  • Ensure initiates are medically checked (pre-screening).
  • Parents should use legal initiation schools (parents should insist on seeing registered permission for the school to operate).
  • Report the mushrooming of illegal initiation schools.
  • Use properly registered initiation schools that have registered surgeons.
     

-       SAnews.gov.za

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