Communities urged to save lives during initiation season

Pretoria- With the winter initiation season approaching, government has urged parents to be involved in the initiation process of their children from the beginning to the end as this will assist to save lives.

Guided by the theme - We Love Our Tradition, We Value Life of Our Youth, Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Des van Rooyen said parents and communities in general must not drop the ball and remain vigilant throughout this period .

Let's adopt Zero Tolerance to initiation deaths. It is important to note that even when the initiates are at the initiation schools, parents are still the primarily responsible for their health, this is one role that they cannot outsource or delegate, the minister said on Saturday.

"Communities throughout the country are preparing their children for this sacred path of our people, in line with our different cultures.

However this period is also characterized by the mushrooming of illegal initiation schools all over the country by unscrupulous people who aim to make money from this important traditional practice by abducting and kidnapping young men".

The department committed to continue to work tirelessly with all stakeholders ahead, during and post the initiation season to ensure that they root out illegal initiation schools.

Deputy Minister Obed Bapela said the department is working with all other stakeholders who will conduct unscheduled visits to a number of provinces as part of the interventions and monitoring.

The random visits are part of the process and efforts to crack down and pounce on illegal initiations schools during this season.

In addition, the department has called for provinces to strengthen their monitoring and coordinating forums so that they can remain vigilant and assist to identify and root out challenges inherent in the system.

Emphasizing on the African proverb which says, It takes a village to raise a child, the deputy minister is of the view that without community involvement, government we will not be able to bring an end to the challenges around initiation.

Remember, initiation is a societal issue and all problems emanating from it, are also societal problems. This confirms that indeed it takes communities to raise responsible young men who can contribute positively to the future of our country, said Deputy Minister Bapela.

CoGTA has adopted a Zero Deaths Campaign parents and legal guardians are urged to:

Ensure that their children undergo medical checks ahead of the initiation process.

Ensure psychological readiness of initiates

Use legal registered initiation schools

Ensure that the traditional surgeons are registered

Young men must go through the pre initiation medical screening process

Initiates are drinking lots of water to avoid dehydration

Parents to have medical trained personnel ready for any intervention required;

Parents and communities to report any illegal/unregistered initiation schools to the authorities for appropriate actions.

Communities have been urged to report any wrong doing related to initiation through this hotline number.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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