THE STAR, Johannesburg, Friday, 11 July 2008.

DA: crackdown on Gauteng initiation schools

The Gauteng provincial government needs to crack down on illegal initiation schools and consider legislation to regulate circumcision as done in the Eastern Cape, the DA said on Friday.

Spokesperson Jack Bloom called on the Gauteng health department to speedily pass legislation to regulate these schools, so that the boys' health was protected while a cultural tradition was retained.

This comes after an initiation school was closed down in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, after 100 underage boys were removed from it on Thursday.

"I commend the police for closing down the initiation school in as it failed to comply with municipal by-laws.

"We need to curb these fraudulent schools as there is much abuse. While it is not as big a problem in Gauteng as elsewhere, there have been deaths and many initiates have ended up in hospital," said Bloom.

North West police spokesperson Inspector Llife Ramatlo said the parents of a 15-year-old boy at the Hammanskraal school had complained to a ward councillor in the area after their son's condition worsened after being circumcised at the school.

On Wednesday, the parents and the ward councillor, accompanied by Temba police went to the school. He said the school was closed down after boys, aged between eight and 15, were removed from it.

"The principal has a certificate to operate but the boys were underage," said Ramatlo.

"Some of the initiates' parents did not know their children were at the school," he said.

Meanwhile, in Limpopo, four initiates died from diarrhoea this week, police said. - Sapa

(File created 18 July 2008)