24 NOVEMBER 2020

Hon. Speaker and Hon. Members

The Bill that is in front of us today is important, as it aims to provide for the effective regulation of customary initiation practices, and requires that initiation schools and traditional surgeons should be registered.

The IFP is of the view that government should not interfere with the performing of traditional rituals but that the government should ensure that such rituals are performed in a healthy and safe environment. Any intervention by government aimed at saving the lives of those who participate in the initiation process will be supported by the IFP.

The IFP has seen many initiates die in bogus initiation schools, which are run by unqualified surgeons. In some instances, initiates are abducted without parental consent to participate in the initiation process. Such practices should not be allowed, as they tarnish the customary initiation tradition.

The legal stipulations contained in this Bill ensure that the initiates are protected and also ensure that surgeons who perform this ritual abide by the law, and are registered.

This could only be to the benefit of the initiates themselves, and will ensure that no lives are lost, while the initiation process itself is conducted in a safe and hygienic environment.

Traditional surgeons who refuse to abide by the norms and standards stipulated by law should be criminally charged because they will be putting the lives of the initiates in danger, and also causing this ritual to be an embarrassment.

The IFP calls upon the government to act decisively against those who ignore the stipulations contained in this Bill. We hope that government institutions will work hand-in-hand with the Traditional Leaders and traditional structures in order to ensure that the intentions of this Bill are fulfilled. Further, we hope that once this Bill is in operation, no lives will be lost when the initiates participate in this customary practice.

The IFP calls upon the government to compile and publish a database of all qualified surgeons and legally-compliant initiation schools, so that those who attend are assured that they are attending institutions that are legally compliant and that they are in safe hands, in a safe environment.

Hon. Speaker, the IFP supports the Bill.

I thank you.