Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Zweli Mkhize met the Eastern Cape traditional leadership yesterday 27 December 2018, to discuss ways of curbing further deaths of initiates during the traditional ritual of ulwaluko.
The country has seen a spike in death of initiates in recent weeks particularly in the Eastern Cape.
According to a statement from Cogta, Mkhize held a productive meeting with representatives of the National House of Traditional Leaders and the EC House of Traditional Leaders on the margins of the Xhosa Carnival celebrations hosted by king Zwelonke Sigcau. The meeting took place at the Nqadu Great Place in Willowvale.
Mkhize was quoted saying, “I got a distinct feeling that all the leaders and amakhosi we met earlier today are very concerned and care deeply about the lives of the initiates and would want to avoid deaths by all costs. Amakhosi are desperate to work with government and medical doctors to curb the deaths which number over 400 since 2012.
“There was also general consensus to revive and implement the agreement made between amakhosi and government departments which helped to reduce fatalities in 2015. This is a positive step.”
In this current season, there have been 34 reported deaths of initiates nationally, with 20 of them coming from the Eastern Cape. Eight have died in the Free State, three in North West, two in the Western Cape and one in the Northern Cape.
“The Minister will convene a meeting to focus on ensuring zero deaths and mutilation and this meeting is scheduled for the second week of January 2019,” Cogta said.