Initiation death toll climbs to 21


The Eastern Cape Department of Health has confirmed that the number of fatalities in the province’s winter initiation season, increased to 21 on Wednesday following the death of a 16-year old boy.

Department Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the boy’s death at an initiation school near Nothintsila village in Ngqeleni, also brings the district’s total number to 13 with the next highest being the OR Tambo region at 12.

“The department has in the meantime organised extra beds and mattresses to accommodate initiates in overflowing hospitals while efforts are being made to establish field hospitals,” Kupelo said.

He also added that within the various districts, seven took place in the Nyandeni municipality followed by four in the Mhlonhlo municipality, and one each in the King Sabata Dalindyebo and Qaukeni municipalities.

Out of the remaining casualties, three occurred in the Chris Hani district, two in Alfred Nzo and one each in Joe Gqabi and Amathole district as well as in Buffalo City.

Speaking in a statement earlier this week, Kupelo said that field hospitals had been set up at specific areas to alleviate the pressure on hospitals, adding that each is equipped with essential equipment to deal with the matter.

“These initiates will be supported and provided emergency care until they are stabilised, when they will either be sent back to the school or referred for admission at our hospitals. An implementation plan will be announced soon,” he said.