Death toll in Eastern Cape initiation schools rises to 7

2018-12-02 07:24
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP) (AFP)

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Seven initiates have died in the Eastern Cape since the start of the 2018 summer traditional initiation season on November 16.

The latest death is that of a 19-year-old initiate in Willowvale in the Amathole district on Saturday morning.

According to provincial cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) spokesperson Mamkeli Ngam, this is the third initiate to die in the Amathole Region.

Ngam said the initiate was lethargic on Friday night and was found dead at around 05:00.

Ngam said the exact cause of death was unknown and a forensic team was investigating.

Another 20-year-old initiate in Mcambele in the OR Tambo District died earlier on Saturday morning. While the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown, pneumonia is suspected to have been the cause of death.

In November, just a few days after launch of the season, two initiates died after suffering from dehydration.

At the time, Ngam told News24 that the Eastern Cape government leadership had decided that there would be severe consequences for any negligence detected at any of the province's initiation schools this season.

He said the severe consequences would also apply to the parents and communities who should also play a role in ensuring that initiates are safe.

"The [Eastern Cape] Customary Male Initiation Practice Act is there and has been explained to everyone. Everybody has the responsibility starting from the parents, families, communities, traditional leaders, ingcibi namakhankatha [traditional doctors and nurses]," Ngam had told News24.

Ngam said that all stakeholders, including the department of health, traditional leaders and police, were committed to ensuring deaths at initiation schools were curbed this season.

Read more on:    east london  |  initiation
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