Initiation schools: CRL Rights Commission gives City of Joburg one month to ID land

2019-01-29 18:18
(File, Theuns Botha)

(File, Theuns Botha)

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The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) has given the City of Johannesburg one month to identify land for winter initiation schools.

The City appeared before the commission on Tuesday where it was supposed to give it feedback on the land situation.

A City representative told the commission that initiation space was considered sacred. It was therefore understood that traditional leaders would be the ones who would approach the City about land that had been identified.

City manager Dr Ndivhoniswani Lukhwareni said: "If someone comes and says: 'Here is a space identified and [it] belongs to the municipality and it has to be used in this particular way,' we will be co-operative but we will set up conditions of that use."

However, the commission disagreed, saying it was the City's duty to identify land for sacred rituals to prevent illegal schools from operating and to curb the number of deaths that increased over the years.

Suspended

In 2017, the commission suspended all initiation school activities in Gauteng after concerns of criminality, malpractice and unfavourable conditions.

"We discovered that the City of Johannesburg did not have a by-law at that time that dealt with initiation and at that point, did not have land allocated for initiation to happen so that monitoring could be easier," commission chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said.

Lukhwareni responded: "Even in the absence of the by-laws, we will be able to assist as far as the initiatives, led by the province, are concerned."

"If it is needed that some of our inspectors should go there and inspect the conditions of the people and environment, we will be able to do that. But at the moment, there isn't a by-law," he said.

Limitations

Lukhwareni said the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) was willing to assist with the monitoring of schools, but warned that their powers were limited.

"They don't have investigating powers…In fact, the issue that happened at the FNB stadium during the Global Citizen Festival (muggings and attacks) might have taught a lot of people [about] the demarcation of accountabilities in the law enforcement spheres," he said.

Initiation is expected to get under way in June.

Read more on:    crl rights commission  |  johannesburg  |  culture
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