After losing a court battle to shut down 53 illegal initiation schools last week, the Limpopo department of cooperative governance, housing and traditional affairs graduated initiates from 329 Koma schools at the weekend.
Chairperson for the House of Traditional Leaders in Limpopo Kgoshi Malesela Dikgale said yesterday the province had so far officially closed half of the 329 schools. He said initiation schools should be closed by the deadline of July 14.
“According to policy, all schools should be closed by the time normal schools reopened their doors and teaching starts for the third term.”
Dikgale said normal schools reopen tomorrow. He said the idea was to give the initiates time to clean up and get ready to resume their formal education after a successful traditional winter school.
A fortnight ago, the Limpopo provincial department of cooperative governance, housing, and traditional affairs filed an urgent court application to the Limpopo High Court to nullify 53 illegal Koma schools in the province.
The schools were allegedly operating without valid permits from the House of Traditional Leaders in Limpopo, which also operates within the ambit of the housing department under MEC Basikopo Makamu. The application was made by Makamu’s office after three initiates, from Mopani, Sekhukhune and Waterberg, reportedly died at initiation schools.
The province had previously gone two years without a death at an initiation school. Makamu, who became the MEC in May, said the death of one child was one too many and that something had to be done to stop the untimely deaths at Koma schools in Limpopo and elsewhere.
The department therefore recommended that all illegal schools in the province be shut down and initiates enrolled in such schools be transferred to other legitimate Koma schools in the province.
The application by the department was allegedly made last week and, by yesterday, all schools should have graduated their initiates. But the court ruled against the application and gave the green light for the schools to graduate their initiates.