‘State doesn’t care about the safety of initiates’

2016-12-04 06:50
(AFP)

(AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - The head of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders has slammed national government for doing too little to prevent the deaths of initiates.

Nkosi Ngangomhlaba Matanzima said the provincial department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs receives too little funding to meaningfully intervene and ensure initiates’ safety.

“As traditional leaders, we blame national government, because even though they can see there is a problem with traditional initiation, they are not providing any assistance. Our province is left on its own,” he said.

Matanzima said government was breaking its own laws, including the Traditional Leadership and Government Act of 2003, which prescribes that national government fund the functions of traditional leaders, which includes overseeing initiation.

“They are only good at talking. They are a government of talk, but no action.”

He said government should be aware that traditional leaders are the custodians of people’s traditions and customs, recognised by law and protected by the Constitution.

“But national government does not care. All they care about is to go around with TV cameras talking about traditional initiation, focusing on the bad things that are happening. We do not appreciate that. All that we want is for government during initiation season to come to us and say, here are the cars, here is the money to hire people who will assist in monitoring and rescue missions,” he says.

He said traditional leaders were “not excited” about deputy cooperative governance minister Obed Bapela’s frequent visits to the Eastern Cape every initiation season, making “empty promises”.

“For us to see that he is working he must bring the resources,” he said.

But Matanzima also had strong words for “weak” traditional leaders who allow illegal initiation schools to proliferate in their villages.

He said custom requires that when a family takes a boy to initiation school, they must first report to the “great place”, where they inform the chief about who the traditional surgeon (ingcibi) would be, and the traditional nurse (ikhankatha) responsible for the initiation school.

But this kind of protocol was no longer followed and traditional leaders seemed indifferent, Matanzima said. An initiation school not known at the great place by the traditional leaders would be illegal.

“The tradition is the responsibility of a traditional leader and when there is no guidance that comes from the great place, from a chief, that’s when you find problems,” he said.

Matanzima said traditional initiation had been hijacked by some who wanted to make quick money out of the practice. And unlike in the old days, when a traditional nurse was a wise, older man of good social standing, anyone now could take on the job.

“The traditional nurses are often young men who are in and out of prison,” he said.

Read more on:    initiation

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.