ANC Eastern Cape chairperson Phumulo Masualle promised the ANC-led government would be at the forefront of fighting the death of young boys in initiate schools.
This comes after 39 young boys lost their lives in Eastern Cape during the winter initiation season because of complications in circumcisions and mistreatment in initiation schools.
Addressing the two-day lekgotla at the East London International Convention Centre, Masualle said: “The issue of the death of our children in these initiation schools can no longer be taken lightly.
“We need to do what we have not done before. We need to create awareness and make this matter our business. We need to make sure that whoever participates in this rite of passage and ritual meets the criteria and is accountable,” said Masualle, also the MEC for finance in the province.
Masualle said the matter had provided for heated debate in the lekgotla, attended by Premier Noxolo Kiviet, MECs, mayors, speakers, chief whips and heads of departments, with concerns that the matter was spiralling out of control.
Echoing Masualle’s sentiments, his ANC deputy, Sakhumzi Somyo, said the ruling party had been “hurt” by what the traditional rite of passage to manhood has become.
“We took a resolution to affirm the ANC’s involvement in our societies and to begin to educate our people about the rite so that we prevent our kids from dying in these circumcision schools,” Somyo said.
Masualle described the two-day meeting as worthwhile and successful, and said clear guidance and parameters of what needed to be done in the remaining months of the term were provided.
The ANC lekgotla precedes that of the provincial government, which will be held in the coming weeks.
“The message is clear that we need to do things quickly and to stop scoring own goals and being on the back seat on issues we could have handled better,” Masualle said, in an apparent reference to the resignation of Nelson Mandela Bay City Manager, Dr Msengana-Ndlela.
He said numerous presentations and reports were tabled during the lekgotla that evaluated the state of the province. The reports were not made public and the lekgotla was held behind closed doors.
He said there was an indication that more needed to be done to improve healthcare in the province and the matric results.
“The premier gave a very comprehensive report about what government has done since the beginning of the term. We are very much appreciative of the strides made but there are areas that are still begging for improvement,” Masualle said.
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