Johannesburg – Twenty-seven young men died across the country during this winter initiation season, compared to 44 last year, the government said on Tuesday.Most of them, 18, died in the Eastern Cape, followed by three in North West and two each in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and Gauteng, the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Ministry said in a statement. The initiation season runs for about three weeks each year. It ended on the weekend of July 16 and 17."We are saddened that even with all the measures we employed to ensure a safe initiation season, the country recorded the death of 27 initiates," it said.It attributed the decrease to family involvement in the process of choosing appropriate initiation schools, where pre-screening and registration was done, and the surgeons were qualified and known to the parents. Illegal initiation schools and abductions continued to plague Gauteng, the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga.