The upcoming summer school closures may increase the number of missing children suspected to be at the Vaal area’s mushrooming initiation schools.
On Tuesday, police rescued 27 children aged 14 and up from an illegal initiation school near Sebokeng.
The Evaton police department assisted in the rescue, as did the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) monitoring team in the Vaal.
Police were initially looking for three missing Evaton boys who had gone missing two weeks ago.
The monitoring team, led by Sipinare Mofokeng, is inundated with reports of missing teenagers in the Vaal.
Mofokeng was also concerned that all illegal schools refused to comply with health standards.
According to the law, every initiate must be medically examined before leaving, according to Mofokeng.
“All initiates are required to bring their medical reports to their schools. When we visit all of our regional schools, the first thing we ask for is the children’s medical cards. Otherwise, the child is declared illegal.
“These illegal schools are causing us problems. We search [every veld in] the Vaal for missing children. We preach on various platforms every day, urging principals to follow the law.
“Initiation is a sacred practise that must be honored. We cannot allow people to disrespect the practise in order to profit at the expense of children’s lives “Mofokeng stated.
On Tuesday, Mofokeng and his team joined Evaton police in their search for three missing boys.
Their search, however, led to the discovery of 24 more initiates at an illegal school outside of Sebokeng. Mofokeng and his team later set fire to that school.
Shaan Motsapi, a police spokesperson, confirmed that the three missing boys, along with 24 others, were discovered at an unregistered initiation school.