SUMMER initiation deaths have been increasing since the season started last month.

The number now stands at nine with the latest deaths of two initiates from the Buffalo City Metro – Liyema Libazi and Esona Mgidlane.

Eastern Cape co-operative governance and traditional affairs spokesman Mamkeli Ngam confirmed the deaths.

“Liyema from Mdantsane in East London died on Tuesday, while Esona from Amalinda, also in East London, died yesterday,” said Ngam. He said both the initiates were of legal age.

He said Liyema was on an asthma pump which he was using at the mountain school, but his cause of death was still unknown.

“We are awaiting post mortem results. Mgidlane died in the traditional house when it caught fire.”

Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders chairman Inkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana said they were shocked an initiate had burned to death, as amakhankatha were supposed to guard them.