23 initiates assaulted and tortured

A total of 23 initiates were assaulted and tortured in Buffalo City during the summer initiation season.

This comes alongside the season’s toll of 17 initiate deaths in the wider Eastern Cape, with the majority being from the OR Tambo district.

Most of the initiates treated for negligence, assault and torture in BCM were from Ginsberg and Dimbaza, the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders (ECHTL) said.

Authorities have labelled the 2017 initiation summer season as the “worst in recent years” as a group of initiates stands accused of brutally slaying a woman and another of renting their hut out in exchange for alcohol.

ECHTL’s chief Stanley Makinana said eight initiates had been treated at Frere Hospital in East London.

King William’s Town’s Grey Hospital treated two newly graduated men who had to be rushed to the facility, after experiencing problems at home.

Another two were admitted at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in Mdantsane. Makinana said the circumcision committee in BCM had suspended a traditional nurse after cases of negligent and reckless operations were reported against him.

Makinana said the nurse, known by his clan name Gqwashu, had used unorthodox methods, exposing initiates to complications.

Eastern Cape cooperative governance and traditional affairs provincial spokesman Mamkeli Ngam – who said the 2017 summer initiation season was one of the worst he had seen in recent years as it had come with “unprecedented cases” like the woman’s death and initiates renting out their hut – added: “We really need to go back to the drawing board and have all hands on deck.”

Ngam said one of the worst moments of the season was when the hand of a Centane initiate, Asiphe Macini, 18, had to be amputated following torture allegations at an initiation school on December 13.

Macini was rushed to Frere Hospital with gangrene after he had allegedly been assaulted with sticks by traditional nurses. A medical assessment showed the tissue in Macini’s hand had died because the blood supply was blocked as a result of his injuries.

Nolulamo “Lulu” Faku, who was killed, allegedly by initiates who found her near their initiation hut on December 24, has been laid to rest.

She was buried at her home village of Mncotsho. The ANC, traditional and religious leaders in the Eastern Cape all condemned the incident.

Three initiates have been charged with murder and another two, who are underage, were released into the custody of their parents.

The three will appear at the Mdantsane Magistrate’s Court on Thursday for a formal bail application. — malibongwed@dispatch.co.za

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