Hon House Chair and fellow Members of Parliament, the customary initiation in South Africa is an important cultural practice spooning many, many centuries. It is differently practiced by many communities as a secret and respected practice.
Therefore, this Bill, the Customary Initiation Bill heralds a new epoch in terms of this practice and marks the beginning of regulating it in terms of the Constitution and all the applicable laws of the Republic. To many communities this practice is an integral part of their lives because it marks the transformation of young initiates to adulthood and prepares them to be responsible in their societies.
Hon Chair and hon members, we all know the devastations and effects of customary initiation in many parts of our country. This has not only resulted in the laws of lives of many young boys and girls, but also deprived us to of future leaders. As the society, we cannot sit back and
surrender, fold our arms and keep quite when all this is happening.
Accordingly, the Customary Initiation Bill is a necessary intervention. It is a product of a responsible government towards its people to avoid loss of life and serious injuries caused by illegal initiation and other related causes.
We note that in some cases the customary practice of initiation has been subject to abuse. Even some initiation schools operate for personal financial gain only with little or no concern for the wellbeing of initiates.
Hon Chair, it is the right of each initiate to health and education, good quality health care and counselling. They also have the right to adequate supervision by an adult or caregiver they trust. It is also important to have approved traditional surgeons and health care practitioners to perform initiation practices with clean, hygienic equipment and in environments that are acceptable.
Therefore, hon Chairperson, the Customary Initiation Bill seeks to provide for the effective regulation of customary initiation practices and for the establishment of a National Initiation Oversight Committee and the provincial initiating co-ordination committees and their related functions.
This Bill seeks to provide for the responsibilities, roles and functions of the various role-players involved in initiation practices and their governance aspects. In addition to this, the Customary Initiation Bill provides for the effective regulation of initiation schools for the regulations of powers of the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the premiers of different provinces, to ensure that this is successful.
In respect of this Bill, there are foreseeable financial implications and this entail traveling costs for members of the established committees during the initiation season as well as costs associated with awareness campaigns necessary at national and provincial levels.
Therefore, in this context hon Chair, the public participation processes in all provinces have been followed on the Customary Initiation Bill, in order to conform with the systems, the procedures and the timelines, including the extensions where it was necessary in order to enable the receipt of all negotiating mandates from different provinces.
Hon Chair, as fast provinces submitted all details of their respective public participation processes on the Bill. This includes the submission of lists of the individuals, the number of public hearings held in provinces, names of organisations and institutions which were consulted and all the relevant stakeholders.
The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs played a central and pivotal role in all the briefings that ensued across the provinces. This include the speedy responses to negotiating mandates by the provinces and the amendments to the Customary Initiation Bill. This Bill was therefore adopted by the Select Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Water and Sanitation and Human Settlements, to
the extent of confirmation of final mandates from different provinces.
Therefore, this Bill, hon Chair, is in terms of section
76 of the Constitution and accordingly classified as a section 76 Bill, as it affects provincial interests as well.
Having said that on behalf of the Select Committee on Co- operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Water and Sanitation and Human Settlements, I am on the move that this report be adopted and approved on the Customary Initiation Bill by the plenary of the NCOP and its eventual passage into law. I thank you. [Applause.]
Question put: That the Bill be adopted.
In favour: Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape.
Against: Free State.
Bill accordingly adopted in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.