Government condemns abduction of young men

An Orange Farm shop owner breaks down after her shop was looted by protestors and police dispersed the looters by firing rubber bullets, 23 February 2010, during a service delivery protest in the settlement. Protestors had earlier blocked the Golden Highway and pelted police with stones. Picture by Michel Bega

Pretoria – The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) on Friday strongly condemned the abduction of young men by some unscrupulous people who are running initiation schools.

Initiation forums together with the South African Police Services and other sectors are working throughout the country to ensure the safety of initiates.

The latest abduction incident took place in Orange Farm, last night, where about 27 young men were rescued.

The Police were able to rescue 13 young men and 14 managed to run away. Those who were rescued were taken to Jabulani hospital and will soon be reunited with their parents.

Police reacted after a parent had reported that one child was missing.

“We are concerned that since the beginning of the winter initiation season the cases of abductions are in the increase even though we are carrying out our communication campaigns across the country,” said Minister van Rooyen.

In Gauteng, cases of abduction have been reported in areas such as Mamelodi, Daveyton and Orange Farm.

Other cases have been reported on the border of Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces. In the Eastern Cape, about 84 initiates were rescued last week and five of them were in a serious condition and 79 were relocated to a safe area.

Regrettably, it is unfortunate that even after government and all stakeholders have been talking to communities about the safety of initiates, the initiation death toll stands at 12, the Eastern Cape has 9, two in Mpumalanga and one in Gauteng.

Many initiation schools opened last weekend due to school winter recess as per the South African school calendar.

“As government, we welcome the action taken by the parents who continue to work with us to ensure the safety of the young men going through the sacred passage and also those community members who report abducted young men and illegal schools operating in their areas.

“We urge all communities and those leading the initiation schools to ensure that all young men entering this sacred path have parental consent and have went through all the stipulated requirements,” said COGTA Deputy Minister Obed Bapela.

Communities are urged to report any wrong doing or suspicious initiation activities using the hotline number – 0800 111 166 or on social media #InitiationDTA or even at the nearest police stations.

Government lauds the hard work of the initiation forums across the country for their continued work to ensure that young men are protected and restoring dignity to this sacred tradition.

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