Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has urged those involved in the upcoming initiation season which started last weekend to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Mabuyane was speaking during the Eastern Cape leg launch of the ‘Return to Play: It is in Your Hands’ vaccination campaign at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha.

The aim of the campaign is to encourage people to vaccinate for social spectators to return to social events such as sporting events, concerts and festivals.

Mabuyane says 70 000 boys in the province will go for initiation, starting this weekend.

“Therefore, we urge parents and traditional leaders to ensure that people follow the protocols to prevent infections and ensure that boys who are going to the mountains are fully vaccinated. Our traditional circumcision monitoring teams did commendable work of monitoring compliance during the June season. Once again they will be out in full force during this December season,” says Mabuyane.

‘Return to Play: It is in Your Hands’ campaign: Premier Oscar Mabuyane

The Summer traditional initiation in the Eastern Cape has already been tainted by illegal initiation schools at Mdantsane near East London. Some were visible before today’s official opening of the season.

Strict regulations are still in place because of the pandemic.

The summer season is also the most dangerous as dehydration is a huge issue. The winter season was curtailed in June due to the third wave.

Traditional Affairs Department Spokesperson, Mamkeli Ngam says they’ll monitor all the irregularities going forward.

“What is going to happen is that our monitoring teams will be out. We will be pouncing on those people very soon. We will be closing down all those illegal ‘amabhoma’ and take those boys to the nearest hospital and arrest all those who are operating those ‘amabhoma’.” 

Government to screen initiation school operators