The Eastern Cape MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Fikile Xasa, says the province is ready for the current summer initiation season and illegal activities will not be tolerated.
On Thursday, the department said it is all systems go to implement the Initiation Monitoring and Intervention Strategy (IMIS) for zero deaths during the initiation season.
It said the strategy is implemented in partnership with key stakeholders including traditional leaders, the Department of Health, district, local and metropolitan municipalities and South African Police Service (SAPS).
“The IMIS is a response to many challenges facing the custom and seeks to ensure the safe passage of our children to manhood.
“Our main focus is on visitations to initiation schools to ensure that initiates get water, are not abused and that the schools are legal. Any form of illegal activities will not be tolerated hence the police are on high alert and part of our teams.
“We are ready and for us it is back to basics to save lives. Our teams are on the ground already conducting monitoring visits,” said MEC Xasa.
He said the strategy is meant to “restore the dignity and reverence of the custom”.
The department said it conducted various stakeholder and community awareness campaigns including door-to-door visits to taverns, taxi ranks and clinics in Ilinge township in the Lukhanji municipal area.
It said community meetings were also organised in the Nyandeni municipal area targeting villages in Libode, Ngqeleni and Port St Johns.
“For the 2015 summer season, Traditional Initiation Centres will be piloted in the OR Tambo District with a focus in Libode (Makhotyana Administrative Area, Bhukwini and Zungu), Tsolo (Emdibanisweni), Ngqeleni (Mamolweni), Port St Johns (Entsimbini) and in Lusikisiki (Parlmarton). Monitoring teams have already descended to these area,” said the department.
Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders (ECHTL) Chairperson Nkosi Ngangomhlaba Matanzima said awareness campaigns were empowering both to communities, traditional leaders and officials to adopt best practices to stop abuse and deaths in the current summer season and beyond.
“We appeal to parents and traditional leaders to work collectively to save lives through regular monitoring visits to the schools. Government alone cannot succeed without the full support and active participation of community leaders,” said Nkosi Matanzima.
He appealed to members of the Traditional Initiation Forums (TIF) to be proactive by meeting on a daily basis to mitigate risks and share best practices. – SAnews.gov.za