ILLEGAL INITIATION SCHOOLS CAUSING MORE DEATHS
By: Mbalenhle Sithebe
Parents are advised to look out for illegal initiation schools after an increasing number of boys dying at several initiation schools.
Deputy Traditional Affairs Minister Obed Bapela said that it was important for parents and children to talk about joining initiation because children run to illegal schools without their parent’s permission.
The deputy minister added that illegal schools don’t take the boys to doctors to test them for life threatening diseases like diabetes.
“Two boys in Verena died because of diabetes and pneumonia, something that might have been prevented if they were taken to the doctor before,” said Bapela.
President of the Congress of Traditional Leaders in South Africa, Setlamorago Thobejane said that illegal initiation schools were looking for fast cash and didn’t have the boys’ best interests.
Illegal initiations schools allow children as young as 13-year-old, and according to Bapela the law only allows a 16-year-old to go for initiation.
“The purpose of initiation is to prepare boys for adulthood, how can a 13-year-old be prepared for adulthood?” questioned Bapela.
But Thobejane disagreed saying that aged differed according to areas. “Some areas in the Free State allowed 13 year olds.”
Thobejane added that age was not the problem but people who own illegal initiation schools.
Police are in search of the owner of the illegal school in Verena where two boys died of diabetes and pneumonia.