The Limpopo Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has suspended initiation schools for the rest of this year. This is part of continued efforts to contain the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic.
The department has also warned against bogus initiation schools.
The traditional practice, which often makes headlines for the wrong reasons such as botched circumcisions, is commonly observed in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.
In the video below, Limpopo announces the suspension of all initiation schools:
MEC Basikopo Makamu has also urged everyone to join hands in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.
“Looking at how we conduct our initiations in the province. Normally like last year we had almost 50 000 initiates. There will be more people in one initiation school that will not be sure it will continue to spread the virus. That is why we think no it’s that we are going to suspend of cancel the initiation schools for the 2020/1 year. So, anybody who would want to establish any initiation schools, there will be no ways, we are going to make sure that, that person gets arrested,” says Makamu.
The department will meet with traditional leaders from all the districts on Wednesday, with the hope that they will understand the reasons for the cancellation.
According to the government, only essential services will be allowed during this lockdown.
Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders in Limpopo Chief Malesela Dikgale has welcomed the decision, saying the situation is dire and calls for decisive leadership.
“It was a very difficult decision that we have ever taken as the executive, but what could we do because there is no way in which we can do it. It is very serious, especially to most of the traditional leaders who are doing it for the sake of cultural activity so they wait for three years, wait for four years and you find that instead of having it, then we have to postpone. But what can we, we never had something like this before? So we have to follow,” says Chief Dikgale.