Four criminal cases opened against illegal traditional initiation schools
Officials of the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, accompanied by members of the Provincial Initiation Coordination Committee, have laid criminal charges in terms of the Customary Initiation Act of 2022 (Act) against four customary initiation schools in the Western Cape.
These schools are all situated within the Cape Town Metro. They are located in Nyanga, Gugulethu, Philippi and Khayelitsha. Charges were laid at Philippi East and Lingelethu West police stations.
The Customary Initiation Act stipulates that all customary initiation schools must register with the relevant provincial department and sets out how these registrations must take place. The four schools concerned did not follow the process. As the Act requires, officials from the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport visited each of the sites and served them with notices that they had two calendar days to close. Unfortunately, despite receiving these notices, the four schools did not do so. The inaction by the four schools triggered the criminal charges, in terms of the Customary Initiation Act.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, in collaboration with its partners in the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness and several municipalities, held two separate training and information sessions in October and early November 2023 for cultural practitioners involved with customary initiation schools. These sessions were not attended by the four schools concerned.
Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport Anroux Marais said: “The role of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, together with its partners, is to ensure that our young men return from this important rite of passage alive and healthy, while all the important and relevant cultural values are upheld and honoured”.
“We applaud the officials involved in closing these schools for their diligence. The Western Cape is a province of respect for the law. We care about our boys and young men. We will continue to enforce the law very firmly in the interests of our initiates. In our quest to have no deaths of Western Cape young men this initiation season, no illegal customary initiation schools will be allowed to operate,” concluded Minister Marais.