10 children dead in Eastern Cape initiations

2016-12-08 16:21


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Port Elizabeth - Ten children have died so far in the Eastern Cape during the current summer initiation season, the provincial department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs confirmed on Thursday.

This year's season, currently in its third week, started at the end of November.

"Ten boys' [lives] have been lost unnecessarily. The MEC [Fikile Xasa] sends his heartfelt condolences to the families involved," communication officer Mamnkeli Ngam said.

"The boys have passed away for various reasons. We don't want to speculate and are awaiting post-mortem results from the department of health."

Speaking to News24, Ngam said there were concerns that the number of deaths might rise.

"Even though the number is currently below that of last year, we are worried that hot weather can escalate the situation," Ngam said.

A number of boys have been rescued so far and are receiving medical attention.

"Working together with municipalities we have monitoring teams on the ground that have saved several boys," Ngam said.

'It is not government's responsibility'

According to Ngam, the department is encouraged by parents who have taken responsibility for the health of their children.

"In East London four parents have laid charges in Cambridge against individuals who have done illegal circumcisions," Ngam said.

"In the past parents have been reluctant to lay charges but we now hope that other parents will follow the example that the four parents set."

The provincial department believes that it is ultimately not its responsibility to ensure safe initiations.

"It is not government's responsibility; it is the responsibility of the parents and families."

"Government has done all it could to establish monitoring teams and spread awareness," Ngam added.

Last year News24 reported that 21 initiates died during the December initiation season.

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  health  |  culture

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