Alex Japho Matlala
2 minute read
14 Jul 2022
4:00 am

Illegal initiation schools in Limpopo face shutdown

Alex Japho Matlala

There are 29 Koma schools operating illegally in the Sekhukhune region of Limpopo.

Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Thulani Mbele

The newly elected leader for the house of traditional leaders in Limpopo, Chief Kenny Ngove, of the Mabunda tribe in Giyani, will join a high-powered delegation ordered to see to the shutdown of illegal Koma, or initiation, schools in Limpopo.

The Citizen understands the shutdown is expected to happen this week.

The delegation is believed to be sanctioned by the Limpopo MEC for cooperative governance, human settlement and traditional affairs, Basikopo Makamu.

Makamu is understood to be greatly concerned by the unauthorised Koma schools operating in his province, despite clear orders given to all traditional authorities at the beginning of the initiation season.

Makamu said last week he was utterly surprised by allegations that 29 Koma schools were illegally operating in the Sekhukhune region of the province. “We have 731 male and female Koma schools in the province. Of the total number, almost 29 of them are operating illegally.

“These are all from the Sekhukhune region. I have spoken to the senior traditional leaders to ensure that all those schools operating without proper accreditation are shut down,” Makamu said.

ALSO READ: Family of 8-year-old boy who died at initiation school to get house – MEC

Soon after his election, Ngove lamented that operating illegal Koma schools was a serious insult to the African tradition of male initiation.

Ngove was elected unopposed during a sitting to reconstitute the sixth house of traditional leaders in Limpopo.

The house of traditional leaders is a statutory body charged with the responsibility of advising government and the legislature on matters related to custom, tradition, and culture, including developmental initiatives that have an impact on rural communities. The elected house will serve for a term of five years.

Speaking to The Citizen soon after his election, Ngove said something must be done fast about initiation schools operating without proper licenses. “Koma schools operating without a valid licence will be closed down.

“Closing down the schools would serve as a deterrent to would be offenders,” he said.

“The Limpopo Provincial Initiation School Act of 2016 is very clear,” Ngove said. “No school would operate without proper accreditation. So, whoever took a chance and risks the lives of our young men by operating an illegal school will have to face the full might of the law.

“We are working hand in glove with the police, health professionals and the department to ensure such schools are shut down,” said Ngove.