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Western Cape Cultural Affairs and Sport on submitting reviewed Initiation Risk Adjusted Plan to align with Coronavirus COVID-19 adjusted alert level 2

31 May 2021

DCAS to submit reviewed Western Cape initiation risk adjusted plan to national for approval as we move to alert level 2

On 24 March 2021, while under Alert Level 1, the Cabinet of the Western Cape had taken the decision to lift the suspension on initiation practices in the province as from 1 June 2021, subject to:

  1. The status of the COVID-19 pandemic and
  2. The approval of the Western Cape Risk Adjusted Plan by the National Department of Traditional Affairs

Following President Ramaphosa’s announcement yesterday as we now move to Alert Level 2, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) has reviewed the Western Cape Initiation Risk Adjusted Plan currently aligned to Alert Level 1 regulations and will submit it to the National Department of Traditional Affairs for approval of the resumption of the proposed initiation season scheduled for 1 June 2021.

As we are now in an established resurgence of cases and due to the expected third wave occurring over the period for which initiation under Alert Level 1 has been approved, the Western Cape Department of Health, in the interest of the safety of all has issued an advisory recommending a postponement until the end of the third wave in the Western Cape. The advisory issued by the Western Cape Department of Health has been communicated to the stakeholders.

To ensure the safety of all involved and to respond strongly and quickly to an increase in cases to dramatically reduce the number of admissions and deaths, we have been monitoring the status of the pandemic together with all relevant sectors of society, including Traditional Leaders who are the custodians of the practice. DCAS also regularly engages the Provincial Initiation Coordination Committee (PICC), Initiation Reference Committee (a sub-committee of the Cultural Commission), and Initiation Forums, whilst keeping close contact with all interested formations in this fraternity. This cooperation was critical as it paved the way for the formulation of a roadmap towards a safe rite-of-passage, a central principle of this programme, as well as the development of a Risk Adjusted Plan for the Initiation practice under COVID-19 conditions.

DCAS has already commenced with and is at an advanced stage of the training of cultural practitioners and members of the following initiation forums:

  • Metro District: Gugulethu, Khayelitsha, Langa, Lwandle, Mfuleni, Nyanga
  • Cape Winelands District: Ashton, Ceres, De Doorns, Paarl, Robertson and Worcester.
  • Central Karoo District: Beaufort West and Murraysburg.
  • Garden Route District: George, Knysna, Mossel Bay, Oudtshoorn and Riversdale.
  • Overberg District: Grabouw, Hermanus and Swellendam.

We are currently in the process of training cultural practitioners and members of the initiation forums from the remaining regions of the province.

DCAS applauds Traditional Leaders and the Initiation Forums for their input and willingness to adjust some of the initiation rite-of-passage procedures in order to mitigate risk where possible.

Minister Marais said “As we now move into a heightened surveillance with the onset of the expected third wave, we urge everyone to adhere to protective behaviours to reduce new cases to stop the spread of the virus in order to save lives. The Department has kept its word and with the assistance of our valued stakeholders, produced a roadmap for the implementation of initiation practice under COVID-19 conditions in the Western Cape. While we understand the increasing frustration due to the delays in initiation practices in the Western Cape, the collaborative Whole of Society Approach to the challenges brought on by the pandemic and the cooperation of communities are essential in containing the spread and recovering from its unprecedented implications. We remain committed to our proactive approach as the Department continues to equip cultural practitioners and members of initiation forums with the necessary training to be ready to resume the sacred practice of initiation as soon as it is approved by the National Department of COGTA after consultation with the National Department of Health as required by regulations”.

Media enquiries:
Stacy McLean - Spokesperson for Anroux Marais, Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport
Tel: 021 483 4426
Mobile: 083 504 1171
Fax: 021 483 9801
E-mail: Stacy.McLean@westerncape.gov.za

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