Limpopo government authorities have hailed the successful closure of an initiation school that operated illegally and posed a danger to the lives of initiates. Their parents handed them over to the traditional surgeons hoping that they would come out as responsible citizens.
Acting on information from whistleblowers, the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (COGHSTA) worked with police to rescue the boys from the illegal school in Kutupu Village in the Sekhukhune area over the weekend.
Limpopo COGHSTA spokesperson, Hitekani Magwedze, confirmed to African Times that the school did not obtain permission to initiate the young villagers.
“COGHSTA would like to confirm that we have indeed closed down an illegal initiation school in the village of Kutupu. The initiation school had 71 initiates, but it was not operating legally as it was not given permission to do so by the provincial initiation coordinating committee under COGHSTA.
“The closing of the initiation school was achieved through efforts between COGHSTA, the police, and community members who assisted in informing police who were on the ground. This year the National Prosecuting Authority has been quite instrumental in coming on board to ensure that cases such as these are processed quickly and court orders are issued a lot sooner to ensure that illegal initiation schools are closed more swiftly,” said Magwedze.
Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Malesela Ledwaba said the school was in contravention of the Initiation Act.
“Through proper inspection, it was found that the school has not registered with the department as per the prescribed Act. There were no injuries or fatalities reported from the initiation school in question and a decision has been taken for the initiates to be moved to a registered school,” said Ledwaba.
He said the suspects who were arrested in connection with running the illegal initiation school have been served with a notice to appear before Nebo Magistrate’s Court this week on charges relating to contravening the Initiation Act.
This year, COGHSTA approved a total of 587 initiation schools to operate across all districts in Limpopo. Workshops were held to assess the readiness of the approved schools before they could start operating.
Medical doctors were roped in to assist inexperienced traditional surgeons as mitigation against possible botched circumcisions.
Limpopo House of Traditional Leaders chairperson, Hosi Pheni Ngove, called upon initiation school owners to ensure that parents or guardians signed consent forms to avoid abductions.
“Limpopo province remains the best when it comes to the practice and culture of initiation. We urge all permit holders to be vigilant of those who want to tarnish this good practice by permitting intoxicating substances such as alcohol and drugs into the schools as this may be negligence and result in mortalities,” said Hosi Ngove.