Eastern Cape Province ready to monitor and police initiation season

KING WILLIAM’S TOWN: At least 196 coordinators from all the SAPS stations in the province have been equipped with one vehicle each to ensure that they are able to deliver on their duties of monitoring and policing the 2018 Winter Traditional Initiation Season.

The policing of the May-June 2018 initiation season has been divided into three categories, before, during and after the initiation.

As part of the preparations, on the 17-30 November 2017, Vispol Coordinators attended a training on how best they can monitor the initiation. Awareness campaigns were also conducted to inform the initiates and prepare parents on what is expected and accepted by law that regulates initiation.

During the initiation season, SAPS coordinators will be paying regular and random visits to initiation schools to check for compliance to the act regulating traditional initiations called Eastern Cape Customary Male Initiation Practice Act, (Act no 5 of 2016) and effect arrests where crime has been committed.

In addition, they will search for drugs, alcohol and illegal weapons that may be hidden inside traditional initiates huts and eliminate any possibility for any criminal to use the initiation huts as hideouts from the law. Our mandate also extends to the protection of Initiation Forum members from possible injury and attack while executing their duties.

Dedicated detectives have been assigned to investigate all initiation related cases and tasked with taking all the suspects and investigated cases to court for decision.

Police appeal to the parents, traditional leaders, family and relatives to work closely and cooperate with the police initiation coordinators to avert any danger, death, injury and disregard for the law during this season. In previous instances police had a challenge with parents who failed to follow the proper procedure as well as lack of parental supervision, non-compliance by traditional surgeons, circumcision of underage boys and in other instances torture of initiates.

Our strategic partners from COGTA (Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs, Department of Health, NPA, Department of Education, office of the Premier and NGOs within the community will combine forces and resources to avert any harm and potential danger to our children undergoing initiation.

Our members will continue to monitor the traditional ceremonies and will follow up with school campaigns to warn amakrwala about the dangers of gangsterism and bullying. This will be undertaken under the auspices of the ‘Somagwaza Campaign.’

Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen LiziweNtshinga assured the community that the police will do their best to prevent any possible deaths of initiates to ensure a safe initiation season.

We have learned from previous experiences, formed strategic partnerships with other state organs to ensure that no crime is committed during this season, if committed, perpetrators must be arrested and held liable for their actions. Our members will open cases and charge perpetrators for crimes ranging from illegal circumcision, torture of initiates, circumcision of underage initiates including providing false information under oath, i.e. perjury, said Lt Gen Ntshinga.

Source: South African Police Service