The Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department (COGTA) in the Eastern Cape says strict level one protocols will be adhered to during the summer initiation season.
The traditional rite of passage did not go ahead in the winter season amid hard lockdown restrictions.
Provincial COGTA Spokesperson Mamnkeli Ngam says the upcoming initiation process will have different rules to help avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
“The initiation season is going to be different to what we had in the past in that we will be observing Alert Level One regulations. There is going to be the wearing of masks. All key stakeholders will have to use water and soap to wash their hands. There will have to be social distancing. Everything has to be different in compliance with the regulations to ensure that there are none that are affected or infected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Strategy to conduct initiation season
The Eastern Cape government sent its proposal to national government about how it will conduct the summer initiation season, under strict conditions.
The government put together its strategy after a multi-disciplinary meeting comprising of the provincial COGTA, the South African Police Service, the National Prosecuting Authority, and the Department of Health.
Twenty illegal initiation schools were shut down this year in the Buffalo City Metro alone.
While the COVID-19 infection rate dropped in the province, a second wave of infections is moving, triggering caution on how the initiation season needs to be conducted.
About 40 000 boys are expected to undergo the right of passage.
COGTA says it is pinning its hopes on an incident-free season by working together with local communities and has established rapid response teams to deal with any eventualities.
In the video below, the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa says it will also forge ahead with the December initiation season:
-Additional reporting by Abongile Jantjies.