circumcision crackdown

THREE initiation schools have been shut down barely a week after the initiation season started in Limpopo.

THREE initiation schools have been shut down barely a week after the initiation season started in Limpopo.

House of Traditional Leaders chairperson Vusane Netshimbufhe said yesterday that the schools, two of which were in the Sekhukhune district and the other in Mopani, had been operating illegally.

He said the Malomane and Riva Koma schools were shut down on Monday because they were being run without the knowledge of the House of Traditional Leaders.

Netshimbufhe said the principals opened the schools and enrolled children without following the requirements of the Koma Schools Act of 1996.

He said according to the Act all schools that run Komas have to first obtain permission from the House.

About the Xhihoko School at Mamitwa, Mopani, Netshimbufhe said the owner of the school had applied to the House but had not met the requirements.

He said the owner had ignored the fact that his application had been turned down and had proceeded to receive initiates.

"We received information from the community that the school was operating. We closed the schools down because they were unlawful and dangerous to initiates."

According to the House of Traditional Leaders, "would-be operators" must be of royal blood because only traditional leaders are eligible to run Koma schools.

"Those given permission to run the schools must also undergo training to ensure that they follow the traditional values and methods."

Netshimbufhe said it was advisable for parents to take their children for medical check-ups before enrolling them in initiation schools to ensure that they were healthy.

He said the initiates attending the schools that had been closed had been transferred to neighbouring schools. Others had been admitted to hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, self-proclaimed KwaSakwasa "Dance King" Steven Maloabothseba Sefofa was forced to send his students to the Tshwale Koma school in Mpepule village in the Bolobedu area after his school shut its doors.

His application was turned down by the house because of his inexperience, Netshimbufhe said.