Traditional leaders oppose proposed initiation bill

Traditional leaders say they refuse to abide by proposed new initiation laws and are prepared to go to for jail for it.
The Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) has rejected the proposed Customary Initiation Bill which is currently in its public participation phase.
It aims to provide regulation around customary initiation practices.
“The customary practice of initiation amongst traditional communities has been subject to abuse,” the bill’s memorandum reads.
“In many instances it has resulted in the death of initiates while numerous initiates have suffered bodily harm.”
According to Nkululeko Nxesi, executive director of the Man and Boy Foundation, the 2018 initiation season has so far claimed the lives of 20 young men in the Eastern Cape alone.
Contralesa president Mathupa Mokoena said its main grievance was that the traditional authority had not been consulted during the drafting of the bill.
“They [government] can’t just come and impose Westernlike cultures on us because the fact is we were never consulted and had we been consulted, we could have taken these people who are conducting these hearings to the places where these deaths [of initiates] happen.
“We could have told them where we have problems with illegal initiation schools.
“They deliberately ignored logic because this bill is about us and we are the ones expected to enforce it – not them – so why did they not consult us?”
Mokoena said it was because of this that they had decided not to engage in the public hearings process.
The non-governmental pressure group has snubbed all the hearings so far which began in Port Elizabeth on Monday and end in Limpopo on Tuesday.
Traditional surgeon Mongezi Hoyi claimed there had been little consultation.
“We don’t want the government to do things alone without consulting us,” he said.
“They must come to us and get our views as well because we know the ins and outs of the practice. Our worry is government has already made a decision about our tradition.”
Co-operative governance and traditional affairs portfolio committee chairperson Richard Mdakane argued that there had been consultations.
He conceded: “Some of the people who draft bills may not have a thorough understanding of the practice, what the challenges are and what the duties of the traditional doctors and the caregivers are, so that’s why we are here.”

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