The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is deeply saddened by the regrettable deaths of 23 initiates in the Eastern Cape province.
Initiation is a noble African custom that represents a rite of passage into adulthood that should be characterised by celebrations, not sorrow. Initiation schools play an important role in cultural heritage as such they must at all material times be institutions of cultural preservation and pride. The practice of initiation is an age-old practice that has been conducted safely for many years. Collaboratively as society and government, we must ensure that the lives of initiates are safeguarded as they participate in this noble customary practice.
This calamity comes at a time when the country is confronted with surging numbers of COVID-19 infections attributed to the omicron variant which requires everyone to remain cautious and observe all the health protocols.
Minister Dlamini Zuma has also noted that the CRL Rights Commission will be convening stakeholders in an effort to save lives and to avert further casualties in initiation schools. CoGTA will monitor developments and work with other stakeholders and role-players involved with this important traditional practice in an effort to save lives.
The Minister calls upon all role players especially the custodians of cultural practices working with health practitioners to put in place the necessary preventative measures to avoid further casualties.
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