Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane on Sunday called on society to mobilise to prevent the death of young men undergoing traditional initiation rites.
Speaking at the East London International Convention Centre during the African National Congress Eastern Cape lekgotla, Mabuyane said the annual initiation season had been tainted with negativity due to the death of initiates.
“Women raise these young men for 18 years and hand them over to us men to take them through initiation passage, but we kill them within eight days. We have laws and legislation that govern this practice. Police must do their work, but we cannot expect them to act where it is our role and responsibility,” he said.
Mabuyane called on men to play their part in guiding young men about the necessity of following legislative processes. “Your responsibility does not stop only to your sons. If you have nephews, they form part of your responsibility,” he said.
At least 10 initiates were rescued from two illegal initiation schools last week and a traditional surgeon has been arrested for running one of the illegal initiation schools.
Four initiates were rescued at Scenery Park in East London after they were circumcised without following processes guiding the custom. A 30-year-old traditional surgeon was arrested for illegally circumcising the four boys. He will appear for a bail hearing in the East London Magistrate’s Court on June 14. Six other initiates were rescued in Lusikisiki and the traditional surgeon who circumcised them is on the run.
Eastern Cape cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha said it was alarming that these incidents had occurred before the official launch of the initiation season. He praised communities for their swift action in rescuing the 10 initiates.
“The developments are an indication that there is corporation between parents and other stakeholders, because in the case of Buffalo City it is the parents who stood up and led to arrest,” said Nqatha.
The official launch of the initiation season is on Tuesday, June 11, at Emaxesibeni in the Alfred Nzo District Municipality.
– African News Agency (ANA)