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Last modified: 30 Nov 2018
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Clamp-down on crime at initiation schools

28 November 2018

Stakeholders within the traditional male circumcision custom will go all out to combat illegal activity at initiation schools this summer season.

The details were discussed at a meeting of the Kouga Local Initiation Forum on Tuesday.

The summer circumcision season is in full swing, with boys across the Kouga region populating the different sites to undergo the rite of passage to manhood, practised mostly by the Xhosa tribe in the area.

Kouga Speaker Hattingh Bornman, under whose office the forum falls, said the stakeholders had picked up that it wasn’t just illegal traditional surgeons and nurses they had to look out for, but also criminals who use initiates’ huts as hideouts.

“There have been reports of stolen goods being hidden in the huts or the vicinity. There are other, unconfirmed, but very disturbing reports of drug peddlers using the initiation schools as their dens,” he said.

Bornman said the members of the forum will be working closely with law enforcement agencies such as SAPS to try and uncover some of the nefarious acts.

“There is a monitoring team that will do impromptu visits to the sites in order to ensure that everything is being done according to the book and that initiates’ lives are not unnecessarily put at risk,” he said.

The custom is governed by the Eastern Cape Customary Male Initiation Practice Act No 5 of 2016.

Only certified traditional surgeons and traditional nurses may perform circumcision or tend to initiates and parents must sign a consent form after the prospective initiate has undergone medical assessment.

Those who contravene the Act may have hefty fines imposed on them or face imprisonment.

The practice in the province has been dogged by stories of abuse of initiates by unqualified surgeons and nurses, resulting in serious injuries and death.

Bornman said this wasn't prevalent in Kouga, but they were not going to take any chances.