EC Cogta calls for community, police assistance after death of five initiates

Sibuliso Duba

Siphokazi Vuso

The Eastern Cape Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has called for local communities and police intervention following the death of five initiates in this year’s summer initiation season.

It was reported that five initiates have died in the Eastern Cape since the start of the summer initiation season.

One of the initiates is believed to have died after his parents ignored the underlying co-morbidities detected during pre-screening.

According to Cogta the other four are said to have died as a result of dehydration and complications related to them being underage.

Speaking to Newzroom Africa, Cogta Eastern Cape spokesperson, Pheello Oliphant, said they have roped in the police to assist in clamping down on illegal initiation schools.

“There is a high level of negligence on the side of the parents, and this is a deep concern to the communities of the Eastern Cape.

“We are asking the police to help clamp down on the culprits that advertise the illegal circumcision of the young boys.

“This is a concerning issue for the Cogta MEC and the community of the Eastern Cape at large and what is happening is that we run campaigns and awareness’s throughout the process around the province. Communities are inviting the department to help us to prevent these problems that we are experiencing at the moment,” Oliphant said.

He said one important aspect involving the circumcision process is that the parents should be involved in checking on the wellness and the safety of the children.

“For example, the issue of initiates who have died as a result of underlying co-morbidities detected during pre-screening being ignored by the parents, it is the parents who were reluctant to take their kids to the initiation school, but they were advised by certain people in the community who wanted to make money out of this process; unfortunately, it led to a death of an initiate,” Oliphant added.

Oliphant further blamed the community for failing to handle the process in a mature manner.

He claims that young kids forcefully go to the initiation schools as a result of peer pressure in the community and the families of the boys.

“As the result of peer pressure some of these young boys end up going to illegal schools before the right age. The legal age is 18 for them to be allowed to go to the initiation school,” he said.

This story first appeared on IOL.