Stop­ping ini­ti­a­tion deaths a pri­or­ity

Ramaphosa works with tra­di­tional lead­ers to en­sure fewer young­sters lose their lives

CityPress - - News - LUBABALO NGCUKANA lubabalo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za

Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa says na­tional gov­ern­ment and tra­di­tional lead­ers are work­ing around the clock to stop deaths at ini­ti­a­tion schools. At least 10 ini­ti­ates and one tra­di­tional nurse have died in the prov­ince since the be­gin­ning of the win­ter ini­ti­a­tion sea­son two weeks ago. Speak­ing in Bhisho on Fri­day shortly af­ter meet­ing tra­di­tional lead­ers be­hind closed doors at the Eastern Cape House of Tra­di­tional Lead­ers, which was cel­e­brat­ing its 20-year an­niver­sary, the deputy pres­i­dent said ini­ti­a­tion deaths were an un­nec­es­sary tragedy.

“The deaths of young men in ini­ti­a­tion schools are a mat­ter of great con­cern, not only to gov­ern­ment, but also to our tra­di­tional lead­ers, and this is a mat­ter that we are all deal­ing with,” he said.

“The good thing about it is that there is good co­op­er­a­tion be­tween our tra­di­tional lead­ers and gov­ern­ment. We have all been in­volved in a process to en­sure that we min­imise the deaths, and put in place a num­ber of con­trols and sys­tems.

“Ev­ery­body’s con­scious­ness has been raised to that level. And I am sure that we are go­ing to have fewer deaths be­cause we are work­ing hand in hand with our tra­di­tional lead­ers. So the mat­ter is be­ing ad­dressed and will be ad­dressed to get re­sults go­ing for­ward,” he as­sured the pub­lic.

Ramaphosa said that, through en­forc­ing the new Eastern Cape Cus­tom­ary Male Ini­ti­a­tion Prac­tice Act signed into law by Pre­mier Phu­mulo Ma­su­alle, there would be a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion or even to­tal elim­i­na­tion of ini­ti­a­tion school deaths, which should not be hap­pen­ing dur­ing ini­ti­a­tion pro­cesses in the first place.

Mamkeli Ngam, pro­vin­cial spokesper­son for co­op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance and tra­di­tional af­fairs, said two ini­ti­ates had died in Buf­falo City metro, two in Joe Gqabi and two in Ngqe­leni in the OR Tambo dis­trict, while an­other six died in a fire at a Qumbu ini­ti­a­tion school, along with one tra­di­tional nurse.

Nkosi Ngan­gomh­laba Matanz­ima, the chair­per­son of the Eastern Cape House of Tra­di­tional Lead­ers, called on Ramaphosa and gov­ern­ment to help tra­di­tional lead­ers

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