The government will now screen initiation school operators for criminal records and discourage the use of alcohol on the mountain, while imposing stiffer sentences on illegal operators.
Early last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law the long-awaited Customary Initiation Bill into the Customary Initiation Act, which was gazetted on Friday. It is hoped that this will tighten the screws and bring more order to the troubled rite of passage, which has seen hundreds of initiates lose their lives in recent years because of botched circumcisions.
According to the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, 253 initiates have died since 2016, with 179 perishing in the Eastern Cape. At least 557 died between 2006 and 2014, with only 260 arrests in this regard, while 214 initiates faced amputations because of botched circumcisions.
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