DA urges probe into initiates' death

2014-06-30 20:13
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Cape Town - The DA is set to request a special joint committee to probe the death of initiates, the party said.

On Monday the Eastern Cape health department said 10 initiates died in the Eastern Cape since the beginning of the winter initiation season.

"The latest death occurred in the early hours of this morning in Ncise village in Mthatha," spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said.

Another boy died over the weekend near Cathcart, with four other deaths previously recorded in the Mthatha area, one in the Tsolo area, and the remaining three occurring in Libode, in the Ngqeleni area.

Kupelo said the department was extremely concerned, given the number of lives already lost.

"We have a total of 49 admissions in various hospitals in the Transkei and that is disrupting our day-to-day operations. Nurses and doctors have to abandon other patients and focus on the initiates," he said.

"This is a man-made crisis which is not supposed to be happening."

The department was setting aside R20m to hire 27 additional 4x4s for traditional leaders to monitor initiations and to hire private doctors who would be able to offer medical assistance.

Kupelo said people driven by greed were running illegal schools with no regard for the initiate's safety or government efforts to reduce initiate deaths.

"A death in our view must be treated as murder as there are allegations that these boys are dying unnecessarily from dehydration, assault and infection," he said.

"These perpetrators think they have a licence to kill. Normal court processes are struck off the roll because parents don't attend proceedings."

DA MP Nqaba Bhanga said according to a report released by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities a total of 486 people have died since 2008.

He said: “The DA will request that the departments of COGTA [Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs] and health present updates on: The policy on initiations promised in 2013, and indicate when this new policy will be published.”

Bhanga said the DA expected urgent action so that not one more life is lost during initiation ceremonies. 

- News24

Read more on:    da  |  east london  |  traditional
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