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Government warns it will act harshly against illegal initiation schools

There have been an estimated 1‚000 penile amputations at initiation schools around the country in the last 10 years.

The figure was revealed by the ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs ahead of the winter initiation season which has already started in some parts of the country.

The ministry states that in 2015 alone‚ at least 101 initiates lost their lives‚ mostly in the Eastern Cape province.

“The 2016 initiation season has already begun in many areas whereas others will start during the schools recess between June and July…The department and its stakeholders have created an initiation hotline where people who witness wrong doings in the name of initiation will be able to call and report the incidents.. and hashtag – zero tolerance on initiation deaths.” the department said.

The department said it held several meetings with the National Director of Public Prosecution‚ SAPS‚ the national initiation task team and the Ingoma Forum‚ aiming at discussing and reducing the high numbers of fatalities and ensure that perpetrators are brought to book without delay.

“We will work with everyone in the justice and security cluster including the Hawks to deal with the wrong doings. We will continue to close illegal schools like we did last year.”

Parents have also been urged to take precautionary measures to make sure their children go to legal initiation schools.

“We call on every parent to play a part by ensuring that their loved ones return home safely by only using legal initiation schools. Responsible schools will not take any boy without the consent of his parents and only operate within government health guidelines.”

Last year‚ a total of 101 initiates were killed during the summer and winter season. The Eastern Cape had recorded at least 40 initiate deaths‚ North West two‚ Gauteng one‚ the Northern Cape three‚ Western Cape two and the Free State recorded seven.

The ministry states that it had comprehensive safety workshops for each of these provinces ahead of the 2016 winter initiation period. Illegal initiation schools will be met with harsh punishment through collaborative work by members of the community‚ the ministry and the police.