Hawks asked to probe East Cape initiation deaths

JULY 15, 2015

The Hawks in the Eastern Cape have been requested to probe the deaths of initiates around the province, the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) said on Tuesday. 

Cogta Deputy Minister Obed Bapela had consulted with the Hawks, requesting assistance in ensuring the successful prosecution of the owner of an illegal initiation school in the province where an initiate, Cinga Maphetshana, died from an alleged assault. 

Bapela wanted the Hawks to look into other cases where initiates died because of serious head injuries and burn wounds.

Meanwhile, the number of initiates who have died during this year's circumcision winter season has risen to 31, with the North West reporting its first death. 

The Eastern Cape had the highest fatalities recorded, with 26 deaths reported thus far. 

Limpopo reported three deaths, followed by Mpumalanga with one. 

Bapela said it was good that the initiation season was soon drawing to an end. "There is a sign of relief as most of the initiates would be returning back to their homes next week as the current initiation season comes to an end", he said. 

"The focus would be on the boys who are still in hospitals as a results of injuries and botched circumcision."