Over 20 initiation schools have been forced to close down by government in Sekhukhuni district in Limpopo, since initiation season started this year. Government intends to close more of these illegal schools and that 20 is just a start, according to the provincial House of Traditional Leaders, in a statement which they made on Friday.
Since initiation activities began in 2014, at least 31 boys have died, with one death being recorded in Limpopo, five deaths in Mpumalanga, one death in the Western Cape, and a total of 24 in the Eastern Cape.
According to Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Obed Bapela, the deaths are often caused by the circumcision, which can result in very serious wounds and loss of blood. In an interview on Morning Live, Bapela stated that government is putting a lot of effort into shutting down illegal schools and are working around the clock in an attempt to do so. He stated that although the death toll with regards to illegal initiation has declined, it is still held in serious light by the government and is very much a concern of theirs. He urged the public to report the illegal initiation schools to authorities, who can then deal with them.
According to the chairman of the provincial House of Traditional Leaders, Kgosi Malesela Dikgali, the department, in conjunction with the police have visited the schools since Monday this week in an attempt to either verify them, or close them down if they are operating without a permit. “We have tried to work on the illegal initiation schools. More than 20 have been shut down. We have tried to visit every one of them,” Dikgali stated on Friday.
Both legal and illegal schools were visited by the provincial department. The 20 illegal schools were told to shut down by Tuesday. The legal schools were visited to verify that they were, in fact, licensed and that the conditions were reasonable at the schools.
A 17 year old boy who died due to initiation in Limpopo is to be buried on Sunday. He is the provinces sole reported death for 2014 thus far.