Recent deaths of initiates should not overshadow successes - Limpopo House of Traditional Healers

2019-07-04 21:18
(File, Theuns Botha)

(File, Theuns Botha)

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The recent deaths of three initiates in Limpopo have put the traditional ritual in a negative light.

However, the House of Traditional Leaders in the province believes this should not overshadow the successes it has achieved over the past three years.

Speaking to News24 on Thursday, its chairperson, Malesela Dikgale, said: "We should first speak about the successes and then we can speak about the death of the boys. All I'm being asked about is death, death, death…

"We had death-free [seasons] in 2016, 2017 and 2019. Things have changed and we now have deaths and illegal [initiation] schools."

ALSO READ:Limpopo parents losing faith in initiation schools, opting for medical circumcisions over concerns of hygiene, safety – and cost

The three deaths include that of an eight-year-old boy who died at an illegal initiation school in Ndenzeza village outside Giyani in June. The other two died in Mogwelere village, Sekhukhune, and Modimolle in the Waterberg district, also last month.

Dikgale said the eight-year-old was not supposed to have been admitted to the school in the first place because of his age. The legal age for admission was 12 years and above, he added.

"The child was young and was never supposed to have been at the school. He still needed the warmth of his mother."

He said the two boys in Mogwelere and Modimolle died of asthma and an apparent drug overdose, respectively.

"The owner of the [initiation] school in Modimolle told us that the boy had snuck out and smoked something with his friends," Dikgale added.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said cases of culpable homicide were being investigated in relation to the deaths of the three initiates.

On Wednesday, the Limpopo High Court issued an order to close all illegal initiation schools across the province.

This year, 393 applications for initiation schools were received by the Department of Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements. However, only 327 were registered.

The department filed an urgent application in the high court following the deaths of the three initiates.

Judge President Ephraim Makgoba, who presided over the matter with Judge George Phatudi, granted the order. However, it was suspended for 12 months to allow the initiates at the illegal schools to graduate and comply with the rules.

In Gauteng, the police reportedly rescued 21 boys aged between 12 and 17 from an illegal initiation school in Mabopane, Pretori, two weeks ago.  

ALSO READ: Over 100 boys rescued from illegal initiation schools in EC

Read more on:    polokwane  |  health  |  tradition
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