The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) in the province has called for urgent police investigation because “not a single woman has the authority to run an initiation school for men in the province”..Picture: FRANCE NYAKA
Two dockets of murder will be sent to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) by police authorities following the deaths of initiates in the province.
Police said two boys, whose names have not been released, lost their lives a few days ago due to circumcision complications at an initiation school in Verena outside Kwaggafotein.
The school is allegedly headed by a female principal “surgeon” (known as ingcibi in the Nguni languages), even though women are traditionally barred from involvement in initiation schools.
The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) in the province has called for urgent police investigation because “not a single woman has the authority to run an initiation school for men in the province”.
And while some sources have claimed that there have in fact been three initiation-related deaths in the province, police have denied this and said that only two boys lost their lives.
Provincial police communications head Brig Selvy Mohlala said it was essential for initiation practitioners to appoint trained surgeons and staff to avoidthe loss of life.
He said people who were responsible for deaths due to illegal and botched circumcisions would face the might of the law.
“We are investigating the deaths of two initiates at an initiation school that is controlled by a woman,” Mohlala said.
“Our investigation continues and thereafter the dockets will be sent to the NPA for a decision. Our initial probe discloses that the boys died of complications after the circumcision process. One of them lost his life at the initiation school and another was rushed to a nearby clinic where he died,” Mohlala said.
Provincial youth chairperson for Contralesa chief Sipho Mahlangu said: “We are shocked because in the province there are no women allowed to operate initiation schools for men.
“We call for a detailed investigation because an initiation is our pride and we expect not a single death in the process.”
Mpumalanga House of Traditional Leaders secretary Simphiwe Kunene said: “We are appealing to traditional leaders to ensure the legitimacy of people running the schools.”
A concerned parent in the area, Mariam Mahlangu, said: “We urge police to clamp down on bogus initiation practitioners gambling with our children’s precious lives.
How can a woman run an initiation school for males? Really, that is absurd.”
Last week in Pretoria, Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi announced that his department had set aside a budget for legitimate and skilled surgeons in a bid to curb initiation-related deaths in the country.
It is unclear if the school involved in the two deaths practices rituals under the Ndebele or Pedi traditions,
But sources told The New Age that the female school owner was granted authority to conduct circumcisions by the Mgibe-Mabena Traditional Authority, which is under the principal command of Ndebele monarch Makhosonke II.
The king’s spokesperson, prince Jimmy Mabena, referred all enquiries to the traditional authority’s chairperson, prince Daniel Mabena, who could not be reached for comment.
Last year, almost 30 Ndebele initiates died as a result of dehydration, excessive bleeding and botched circumcisions.
A few days ago, the NPA returned the dockets to the police and recommended that those involved be charged in the courts of their respective areas, such as KwaMhlanga, Middelburg, Verena and Belfast.