City of Tshwane backs move to suspend initiation school activities in Gauteng

(AFP)
(AFP)

The City of Tshwane says it is fully behind a tough resolution to suspend all intakes of initiates across Gauteng for the rest of the year.

A resolution, taken by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Right of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission) on October 2017, led to the suspension of all initiation school activities in Gauteng.

"We need to tighten things up in Gauteng. Things have gone way overboard," the commission's chair Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said last year at the release of a report on the commission's investigation into deaths and injuries at initiation schools around the country.

READ: All initiation activity in Gauteng suspended until 2018

According to a statement from the City on Thursday, the halting of initiation-related activities was aimed at addressing concerns around "criminality, gross malpractices and unfavourable habitual conditions that have crept into this age-old traditional ritual".

The mushrooming of unregistered initiation schools, violence, murders, assaults and abduction were some of the many issues that had "turned [initiation schools] into a haven for criminals", said the statement.

During the last initiation season, 20 children were rescued by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

Over the past five years, the City has reported 13 deaths in initiation schools from dehydration, fire and other causes.

Nationally, a total of 557 initiates have died over a period of nine years, according to the CRL report.

Mayoral Committee Member for Health Sakkie Du Plooy said that the City would set regulations that prioritised safety and ensured compliance, which had to be met by December this year.

"Pursuant to the resolution, the City of Tshwane fully supports and commits to abide by the resolution as issued by the CRL," Du Plooy said.

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