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HomeSouth AfricaTraditional leaders outraged at Eastern Cape initiation deaths over the festive season

Traditional leaders outraged at Eastern Cape initiation deaths over the festive season

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Traditional leaders in South Africa have expressed their shock and outrage at the high number of initiate deaths during the December period in the Eastern Cape.

According to the Royal Leaders of South Africa (Rolesa), a body representing traditional royal families, at least 35 boys died in the Eastern Cape during the summer initiation season running from December.

It was common for the Eastern Cape to have two initiation seasons, while other provinces only have one winter initiation season.

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Rolesa National Convener Prince Manene Tabane told The Citizen several traditional school masters and nurses had been arrested over the deaths of the Eastern Cape initiates.

“I have been informed that they are in jail as we speak. This is bad! There is no excuse for this,” he said.

Tabane blamed the deaths on initiation school nurses who are primarily responsible for the well-being of the initiates.

“They are supposed to be there 24 hours to look after the boys but it seems like some of these men were just negligent. That is why we are here now,” he said.

Tabane said the Eastern Cape started preparing for summer initiations in March last year.

“Our committees were already having meetings with parents and other stakeholders. We have to ensure that boys are healthy and that all the schools are legal and compliant,” Tabane said.

Parents may take responsibility

He said family members were allowed to visit the boys during the initiation period but had to follow strict rules and protocols.

He said parents have a responsibility to make sure their child is safe.

“The parent must ensure compliance. They must ensure that the school is legal and that the nurses and surgeons are people that the community know are experienced,” he said.

ALSO READ: Fury as boys ‘forced’ into winter initiation school without parents’ consent

Tabane said initiates who had chronic conditions were allowed to take their medicine to the initiation site. They were also expected to communicate any health issues to their initiation nurse.

“The school needs to be aware of any medical condition the child has. I am not happy with the conduct of traditional nurses on this matter because in my village there is no death and we hardly have deaths.

“The sad part is when you have to tell a parent that they have lost their child. That is very painful,” Tabane said.

Source: citizen.co.za

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