Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Zweli Mkhize, has met with traditional leaders from the Eastern Cape in Durban to discuss the deaths of initiates.

Mkhize says there is concern about the high number of deaths of initiates at the hands of bogus traditional surgeons.

Figures show that more than 300 initiates died during the December initiation period last year.

The meeting also heard that the number of initiates tends to be higher during the summer initiation season. Many of the deaths that occur were due to extreme heat and dehydration.

Mkhize says co-operation is crucial. “This meeting is different because it has been called really as an emergency response to the rising number of initiates who have died out of the summer initiation season and we believe that there are a number of stakeholders that need to be pulled together to apply their minds on the solutions that are needed. This meeting is a sequel to a meeting that we had on the 27 of December. That meeting was initiated by the king of aMagcaleka who said they are worried about this only to find even the houses of traditional leaders were all concerned so were we all.”

Eastern Cape Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Fikile Xasa, says the province is working closely with the police to arrest the people who are responsible for the death of the initiates.

“This time we have all agreed that we must enforce the law and as a result; in all the cases of death that we have reported, cases of death that we have opened were are now going through a process of what is called inquest and beyond that we want action.”