Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Obed Bapela has embarked on a monitoring visit to areas that have high death rates of initiates in the Eastern Cape.
From 09 to 10 July 2015, Deputy Minister Bapela visited the areas to personally assess the extent of the high number of deaths.
On Friday, the Deputy Minister visited Lusikisiki and surrounding areas as part of his continued monitoring and engagement with stakeholders.
He also paid a courtesy call to the home of Cinga Maphetshana, a 17 year old boy who was in Grade 10 and has died at an illegal initiation school from dehydration and assault wounds.
Deputy Minister Bapela also expressed with sadness the ill-treatment of initiates at illegal initiation schools and extended condolences to the families of the deceased initiates.
To date, the death rate of initiates across the country is 25, with the Eastern Cape reported 22, Limpopo recorded two deaths and Mpumalanga reported one death.
The Deputy Minister said: "The increase of illegal initiation schools by criminals whose interests is only making money is making a mockery of our cultural heritage."
"We are determined to ensure that such illegal schools are closed. To date the number of illegal school closed down across the country is approximately 400," he said.
Government has encouraged all citizens to report the illegal initiation schools by contacting the Deputy Chairperson of National House of Traditional Leaders, Kgosi Mahlangu on 071 461 0475; National Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Abram Sithole on 071 600 7917 or Jacob Mashishi on 072 025 4607 and Eastern Cape CoGTA spokesperson Mamnkeli Ngam on 071 685 7981.