GOING TO an illegal initiation school is a gamble – and sometimes the penalty for the unlucky ones is death.

These eight girls were saved before gambling with their lives.

The girls, aged between 15 and 19, were found at a bush camp in Gauteng on Tuesday. Police received a tip-off from an unknown person telling them about the illegal girls’ initiation school in the bush at Orange Farm, near the Vaal. But it appears the trainers at the school had heard the police were on the way because they moved to a different place.

The chase continued. Police established they were hiding in a house in Drieziek, extension 3 and went there.

This time their search was successful. The girls were found with their trainers.

They were taken to the Orange Farm Police Station and then taken home by police.

Police spokesman Constable Dingaan Mapotsi, who is responsible for investigations into initiation schools in Orange Farm, told Daily Sun the trainer told them the girls’ parents knew about their daughters being at the initiation school.

“Whether the parents knew or not, the girls were taken back to their homes. No initiation schools are allowed in the area,” he said.

He said when the girls were taken home, some of the parents said they knew where their daughters were while others claimed not to know.

All of them refused to open cases.

“We were forced to release the teachers,” said Mapotsi.

  • Deaths as a result of botched circumcisions, dehydration, exposure and even beatings, are common during the cutting season.

While many illegal schools are located and closed, the practice is common in many areas of the country.

“Those that have been rescued, especially from illegal schools, need to thank their ancestors because being there it is a matter of life and death,” said Mntimande Ngwenya of the CRL Rights Commission.