SAVED FROM FAKE SCHOOLS
MORE THAN 250 children were rescued from illegally run initiation schools at Sedibeng in the Vaal region during the festive season.
Sedibeng municipality Member of Mayoral Committee for safety and security Yusuf Mahommed said over 35 schools were raided and closed down during the summer initiation season, which runs in December and January.
He said the schools were illegal because all initiation practices had been suspended by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic communities.
The commission’s report found that there were criminal elements linked to the tradition. It found that the ritual had been marred by violence, murder, rape, assaults, abductions, extortion and schools run by children as young as 15, and that closely linked to unregistered initiation schools was the illegal occupation of land.
The commission said some of the schools were not an accurate representation of the cultural initiation ritual, and that they violated the constitution and several of the country’s laws.
It also said some of the practices at the schools endangered the lives of children.
“Everyone in the municipality knew the practice was suspended,” Mahommed said. “But there are people who think they are above the law.
“We will start a new operation for schools on the outskirts of Sedibeng, where we found that those who were stopped from practising went and ran their schools.
“We don’t want to see any children dressed in their school’s attire or even seeing parties being held because they have returned. We will not allow celebrations to take place because it might encourage others,” he added.
Sipinare Mofokeng, chairperson of the Sedibeng Traditional Surgeons Committee, said: “We are hoping this season’s raids will deter society from continuing with the practice until order has been established within the traditional fraternity.”