Two Cape initiates die, 5 in hospital
TWO INITIATES aged 18 and 19 have died, and a further five have been hospitalised, after being rushed to hospital from an initiation school just outside Kayamandi, Stellenbosch, the provincial Cultural Affairs and Sport Department has confirmed.
The department has since initiated discussions with the Health Department, the Stellenbosch Municipality, local elders and the initiation committees responsible for the initiation site, according to Brent Walters, department head.
Police spokesman Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana said the Cloetesville police station near Kayamandi was alerted to problems involving three initiates at 6.50pm on Monday. He said they had been “circumcised near Ida’s Valley dam”.
“The three were rushed to a nearby hospital, where two of them died,” Kinana said, adding that the teenagers were from Nyanga and Gugulethu, and had caught a bus to Stellenbosch.
The one survivor remained in hospital.
Kinana said no arrests had been made.
Kinana had no information about a further four initiates apparently also taken to hospital, according to the provincial Cultural Affairs and Sport Department.
Vernon Bowers, a spokesman for the Stellenbosch Municipality, confirmed the deaths of the two initiates early this week.
“We cannot provide any further details until the next of kin have been informed of the official report,” he said, adding that he was saddened by the incident.
Provincial Health Department spokesman Mark van der Heever said the two deaths were reported to his office on Tuesday. Autopsies were conducted on Thursday, and the results would be made known to the police so they could conduct an investigation.
Walters said the deaths were the first at Western Cape initiation schools since the department started with protocols and guidelines in October last year.
The department had officially confirmed the deaths only yesterday morning.
Everyone would now join forces to work towards replacing the existing management team of the site and medically screening the remaining initiates there, while continuing to monitor other sites, he said.
“Despite all the training and support to make initiations safer over the past few years, and in the run-up to the 2013 initiation season, we are now faced with the tragic news of the untimely death of these young men. We will continue to provide medical and logistical support to all the recognised initiation committees in the province, and work with cultural communities to ensure the safety of our initiates,” Walters added.
He said the province had built up a proud safety record over the past few years.