Customary Initiation Bill approved by Cabinet

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Pretoria – Cabinet has approved the publication of the Customary Initiation Bill.

The Bill seeks to protect, promote and regulate the customary initiation practices.

“Once approved, the Bill will provide acceptable norms and standards in conducting these customary practices. It will deal with the abuse of the initiation practice, which has seen a number of young boys dying in initiation schools,” said Cabinet in a statement on Thursday.

Following its recent meeting, Cabinet has given the Department of Traditional Affairs the nod to commence drafting national legislation on initiation using the draft Policy on the Customary Practice of Initiation in South Africa.

The policy, which applies to both males and females, encourages acceptable practices in order to avoid any negative effects on initiates. It forms part of steps that government is taking to reinforce appropriate and acceptable customs and practices to restore accountability in the practice of initiation.

There have been concerns over the rising death toll at initiation schools, with provinces such as the Eastern Cape and Limpopo being the hardest hit by the problem.

A matter of great concern to government and traditional leaders has been the abuse and assault of initiates, as well as the rising number of unregistered traditional surgeons.

The policy has been designed to tackle how the country preserves the initiation custom, while eliminating challenges such the reported abuse of children at initiation schools.

Government believes converting the policy into a Bill will result in consequences for those who continue to violate the processes that are in place. – SAnews.gov.za