Media Statements

CoGTA Shocked and Saddened by the Deaths of Initiates in Mpumalanga Province  

The Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), is saddened by the passing of two initiates from Mpumalanga Province. It is sad that the two fatalities occurred right at the beginning of the 2017 Winter Initiation season which we had hoped will be incident free.

The 2017 winter initiation season begun on 24 April 2017 with many young men beginning this sacred journey. The joys and ululations of parents who were seeing off their children on Saturday, 24 April 2017 is still vivid in the minds of those who were in attendance and nothing would have prepared them for the sudden tragedy that struck the Kwa-Mhlanga and Gemsbokspruit communities.

The leaders of Inghoma Forum, working with other stakeholders will leave no stone unturned to determine the cause of this fatalities. Understanding the cause of these two fatalities might assist to save the lives of many young men who will be embarking on this sacred process countrywide. With the winter school holidays about to begin, many potential initiates are expected to join this sacred journey across the country.

Speaking after the incident was confirmed, the Minister for CoGTA, honourable Des Van Rooyen expressed shock at the passing of these initiates and conveyed heartfelt condolences to the families and the broader communities. He committed that his Ministry will continue to heighten engagement with all stakeholders such as traditional leaders, Inghoma Forum, department health, SAPS and NPA, parents, etc – to ensure that we bring an end to such fatalities.

“Let us all adopt Zero Tolerance Approach to initiation deaths. We therefore urge all communities and those leading the initiation schools to ensure that all initiates entering this sacred path are complying with all the stipulated requirements, have parental consent, underwent medical screening and ensure that initiation schools and traditional surgeons are registered”, said Deputy Minister Bapela.

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Legadima Leso

Head of Communications – COGTA

Cell: 083 378 9495