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CoGTA Regrets the Loss of Lives During the 2017 Initiation Season

The Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), noted with concern the challenges that have since erupted since the beginning the 2017 Winter Initiation Season.

The season has thus far been charectarised by abductions of young people who are being forced to initiation schools.  It is important to note that this initiation schools that abduct children are mostly operating illegally and do not adhere to guidelines that have been issued to ensure a safe passage of initiates.

The Deputy Minister of CoGTA, honourable Obed Bapela expressed his appreciation for the monitoring teams in all Provinces that have been working tirelessly around the clock to ensure that this important tradition is protected. Many young men and women, some of which are under are age have been rescued from this unscrupulous and illegal schools that are run by those whose intentions is to make money.

Regrettably, in the current season we have already lost 14 initiates:

  1. EC = 7
  2. MP =
  3. GP = 2
  4. WC = 2

The Ministry of CoGTA regrets the loss of such precious lives and Minister and Deputy Ministers conveyed their sincerest condolences to those who have lost loved one. We will continue with our “Zero Deaths Campaign” which is a clarion call to all communities in the country to come together to ensure a safe initiation seasons.

It is heartening to note that the Eastern Cape has already passed the Customary Initiation Act which they have thus far used to regulate the process. Already some traditional surgeons have been arrested and many initiates rescued.

We urge communities to report unregistered initiation schools, abductions and all other unscrupulous activities committed in the name of this important traditional practice.

Even though 2017 shows that there is an improvement, when compared to last year, CoGTA is saddened by the reported deaths of initiates and call on all stakeholders to come together to address this challenge.

The Deputy Minister, Honourable Obed Bapela visited the Eastern Cape on the 28 – 29 June 2017. The Deputy Minister met various role players and stakeholders involved in this practice. These meetings with traditional leaders, government leaders and families who lost loved ones will surely go along in ensuring that there is stability in this practice.

We are also glad with the progress we have thus far made with Customary Initiation Bill which has been approved by Cabinet for publication and public consultation at its meeting held 21 June 2017. The Bill seeks to protect, promote and regulate the customary initiation practices and we believe that once finalised, it will go long to making this practice safe again.

We urge communities to report any wrong doing related to initiation through this hotline number – 0800 111 166 or #InitiationDTA.


 Legadima Leso

CoGTA Communication

083 378 9495