There will be no child under the age of 12 years admitted to initiation schools in Limpopo this year, the department of cooperative governance, human settlement and traditional affairs said yesterday.
Departmental MEC Rodgers Baisekopo Makamu said this during a media briefing for the readiness of the province ahead of the commencement of winter initiation schools on Friday.
“We have had a very successful initiation school season last year and we want history to repeat itself,” said Makamu in Polokwane yesterday.
Makamu praised Limpopo for having recorded no deaths in last year’s initiation school season.
“In spite having admitted the highest number of initiates in the country’s nine provinces last year, the province recorded a zero death rate. We had a total of 50 791 initiates, two illegal schools were shut down and there were no deaths,” said Makamu.
“In an endeavour to continue this record and outclass our contemporaries this year, we will need to abide by the rules and do things by the book,” he said.
Makamu said, according to the rules, no person shall hold an initiation school without a valid permit; no initiate shall be admitted to an initiation school more than five days after the official opening and no person would be allowed to abduct another child for enrolment at an initiation school.
Makamu, who confirmed he had undergone the traditional right of passage to manhood, also said those accompanying children for admission at initiation schools must also have gone through one of the schools.
He added: “A certificate of fitness would be required for the initiation school owner to operate an initiation school, no child below the age of 12 would be admitted to the initiation school and children seeking enrolment, and admission at a school would first undergo a medical examination while accompanied by a parent,” he said.
Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba, whose department offered to work hand in glove with Makamu’s department, said her department would ensure that only children with a medical record from a doctor were admitted at schools. Ramathuba also said the department would dispatch health practitioners to visit the schools in an endeavour to monitor their health conditions.
“We will also provide medical attention to those with health problems and ensure they are medically fit. Where there are complications, the department will be ready to intervene and provide the necessary assistance to preserve and save lives,” said Ramathuba.