Initiation: Young men must be protected

Juanita Terblanche (MP), DA Constituency Head, Tlokwe (Potchefstroom):

The Democratic Alliance in North West welcomes the arrest of six people in Ikageng after the death of a 16 year old boy at an initiation school in Tlokwe municipality, Potchefstroom.

According to the police the teenager died at an unauthorised initiation school. The deceased and 37 other initiates were found at the school. The boys were found in a bad state of health.

Furthermore, the owner/s of the school could not produce registration documents and was subsequently arrested. According to reports they will appear in the Potchefstroom Magistrates court today, Friday 10 July 2015.

The Democratic Alliance wants to congratulate the police on this arrest and is of opinion that all illegal initiation schools should be busted and closed.

The Democratic Alliance condemns any unregulated practice where one faces the prospect of death or the threat of severe disfigurement.

The DA calls on the ministers of Health and of Cooperative Governance and Traditional affairs to put an action plan on the table whereby these schools can be regulated in the correct manner.

These initiation ceremonies play a huge role in many cultures in the country. The DA wants to see the right to practice your cultural rights protected as stipulated in the Constitution.

However, precautionary measures should be put in place to ensure that these schools meet basic health standards to guarantee the safety of our young men. All fake and illegal practitioners, with no qualifications, who use these schools for monetary gain, must be stopped.

The DA believes a coordinated effort should be taken to protect these young men while they embark on this important path to manhood.