Parliament condemns initiation deaths

Friday, December 20, 2019

The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) has called for an investigation into the deaths of 21 boys at an initiation school in the Eastern Cape.

According to media reports, the boys died due to dehydration.

The committee condemned the death of the boysas it took place due to negligent application of restriction of water to the initiates on cultural grounds.

"This could have been avoided if traditional practices such as water restrictions to initiates before and after the initiation can be reviewed from time to time to ensure that if they threaten the lives of the initiates in the fast changing weather conditions, they are discontinued," said committee Chairperson Faith Muthambi.

The committee has also called on the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) to investigate the death of the initiates.

It further urged the NHTL to come up with new solutions on how to continue with the tradition of initiation in the changing climatic and weather conditions, to ensure that not a single life is lost in the future.

“The heart breaking deaths happen at a time when families are preparing to be together for the festive season. We are extending our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of these boys," Muthambi said.

She added that the committee will invite the leadership of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) to come to Parliament in the new year with a purpose of finding solutions to the problems of the tradition of initiation. –