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state says enough is enough over the deaths of initiates

By unknown | Jul 16, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

The alarming death rate of initiates at Limpopo's Koma schools has left Premier Sello Moloto baffled.

Moloto sent his condolences to the families of initiates who died in this year's Koma schools.

This after reports that more than 53 initiates from various schools in the province had been admitted to hospitals since last week. Six initiates have been reported dead so far.

Yesterday Moloto said "one death is one too many" and that government intervention was needed to keep the situation from escalating.

Moloto said it was back to the drawing board for the House of Traditional Leaders and government to prevent more lives being lost.

"We cannot afford to fold our arms when children who are supposed to graduate into manhood and help preserve our culture are dying like this."

Moloto called on parents of initiates to implement rules and regulations that govern the schools and to be more involved.

"The policy on Koma schools is clear: initiates should first undergo medical checkups and be enrolled at the schools with the permission of their parents," Moloto said.

"This will help reduce the risks involved that might have caused the death of many initiates."

According to a report released by the House of Traditional leaders in Limpopo about six initiates died in the schools this year, an increase of one percent, as compared with five deaths this time last year.

Four initiates died at a school in Machubahlaga village, one in GaMaja and one in the Vhembe area.

Fifty three initiates were admitted to hospitals suffering from various illnesses that included diarrhoea, dehydration and botched surgery.

Twenty of them were admitted to Mankweng, 16 to Seshego, nine to Lebowakgomo and eight to Polokwane hospitals.

Limpopo Koma task team head Khosi Vusani Netshimbupfe said there were 279 formal Koma schools in the province this year.

He said the purpose of the schools was to teach young men about the culture and traditions of the African community, while at the same time teaching them human relations.

But several parents complained yesterday that poor surgery and principals' lack of experience in running Koma schools contributed to the alarming death rate.


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