Initiation deaths: ‘culprits will be charged with murder’

2012-08-14 10:15

The Eastern Cape government will move for traditional surgeons or nurses found to be responsible for the death of an initiate during the traditional Xhosa rite of passage to be charged with murder.

Traditional Affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane wants those responsible to pay the highest price.

This comes as close to 50 deaths were registered this June.

Qoboshiyane said deaths were the result of “negligence and the erosion of basic values that underpinned this custom”.

“We are look at crafting legislation that will say in any death related to this, traditional surgeons or their nurses must be charged,” he said.

In the past, most traditional surgeons and nurses arrested faced charges related to negligence and these were brought by the parents, who often did not see cases through.

Qoboshiyane said it was a crisis that 47 deaths had occurred in what is essentially the first half of the 2012 initiation season, as thousands more youth are expected to undergo the rite in December.

This number of deaths this June is a sharp increase from the 26 deaths this time last year, and six more than June 2010.

Education MEC Mandla Makupula said although the extent of government interventions into cultural practices, particularly this rite of passage, is a thorny issue, government undertook to perform more monitoring in a bid to stave off the needless deaths.

He said the ruling ANC had discussed the issue of ulwaluko (circumcision) at length during its provincial legkotla at the weekend.

“The lekgotla said traditional surgeons must be registered and must also undergo some form of medical training in handling health matter ... This goes up to the level of how much experience surgeons, and those who look after these boys have,” he said.

The Pondoland, where the rite had been discontinued and started up again in recent years, was still highlighted as the area where the most incidents were reported because of a shortage of experienced people to oversee the rite. In these areas parents often did not take much interest in the rite because they did not undergo it.

Other causes highlighted is the young age of initiates, the quality of treatment they get from inexperienced nurses, and acts of physical abuse on the part of those charged with looking after them.

Qoboshiyane also said traditional councils, which get paid by government, would be required to do more monitoring in their areas as part of their job descriptions.

Join the conversation! 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. 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

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


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 network.


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.