The Eastern Cape Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has confirmed that six initiates have died in the province since the Summer initiation season commenced.
Cogta spokesperson, Mamkeli Ngam, said five of the initiates were in the from the O.R Thambo District and one from the Joe Gqabi District.
Ngam said it the cause of death has been reported as septicemia and dehydration, however, the Department of Health was still investigating.
"Those kinds of post-mortem results will assist us to plan ahead going forward so that we try and avert any recurrence thereof in the future. We have alerted our team and we are encouraging them to do extra work in ensuring that 24/7 they monitor and visit initiation schools in every length of our province to ensure that the number doesn't increase," he said
Ngam is appealing to parents to report cases of illegal circumcision after the department discovered that three initiates were found to be underage which includes a 15-year-old boy who committed suicide.
"One is 15 years old and the two others are 16 and 17, and that is a cause for concern to us because the age limit is 18. Once these boys undergo the ritual at the age of 18, we are of the view that they will be able to withstand all the challenges associated with initiation," he said.