The ANC Youth League in the Western Cape claims it has the support of traditional leaders in its proposal to make a portion of Table Mountain National Park available for young men undergoing initiation.
“We have engaged in a very extensive engagement with traditional leaders. We did this because we thought maybe our view might be narrow and we need to include other views,” ANCYL spokesperson Siyabulela Tom said this week.
“It was a very much needed exercise because it put us in a position to engage with some issues we hadn’t considered.”
He said the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) supported their cause and call “100%”.
But Contralesa general secretary Xolile Ndevu on Tuesday said it represented at least 8 000 traditional leaders around the country.
He said he was not aware of the youth league’s proposal and directed enquiries to the congress’s provincial chair Aaron Messelaar. Messelaar was not available for comment on Tuesday.
At the start of the month, the youth league said the national reserve was suitable to host initiates from around the province as it was private, mountainous and spacious.
It bemoaned a lack of suitable space for the African tradition.
Meanwhile the Hawks in the Eastern Cape have been requested to probe the deaths of initiates around the province, the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) said on Tuesday.
Cogta Deputy Minister Obed Bapela wanted the Hawks to look into cases where initiates died because of serious head injuries and burn wounds.
Meanwhile, the number of initiates who have died during this year’s circumcision winter season has risen to 31, with the North West reporting its first death.
The Eastern Cape had the highest fatalities recorded, with 26 deaths reported thus far.
Limpopo reported three deaths, followed by Mpumalanga with one.