The Mpumalanga initiation season has claimed its first known victim for 2019.

A 39-year-old man died on Sunday after undergoing circumcision in Verena.

Spokesperson for Ingoma Forum, the group of medical practitioners that provides support to initiation schools, Musa Thungwa says the initiation school failed to follow regulations.

Thungwa says the tragedy could have been avoided.

“I must indicate that we have been pleading to all these Ingoma holders, the owners of these initiation schools, for the past years since the Ingoma Forum was established on behalf of the Department of Health in 2009, to say that whenever they are to start initiation schools, all initiates must be prescribed and make sure that all protocols and regulations are followed. Unfortunately with this school, things did not go in that particular way.”

Police have confirmed that the school is operating legally and they are investigating the death.

In 2018, at least 11 initiates died at various initiation schools in Mpumalanga.

The numbers have drastically gone down since 2013, where 31 initiates lost their lives in their quest for manhood.

However, the Ingoma Forum is hoping for an initiation season in which no initiate will return home in a body bag.