Chairperson and Minister, I have decided to take a different approach to South Africa today, because of a crisis we are confronted with. I am not going to speak only to you, hon members, but to all South Africans.
Traditional leaders - Ah! Dalibhunga! - today our country is confronted by a national crisis that relates to the initiation of our boys. I was initiated at the age of 19 years. When I went through initiation, I went as a proud man, because I felt, and was, safe and did not fear death. I left initiation school a proud man, safe, and I did not fear death. Today it is different. More than 40 young men proudly went to an initiation school, and they left the initiation school in a plastic bag - dead.
Since 2008 more than 500 young men have died at initiation schools. As we speak, more than 180 young boys are in hospital. On SABC2 there was a recording of a young boy who was disguised. He said: "I went to an initiation school to be introduced to manhood. My penis was amputated. Every day, when I wake up, I feel like committing suicide - killing myself."
Many of the young boys out there who are being introduced to this noble initiation are losing their lives - boys who are supposed to become responsible men who will build a winning South Africa, who will build a country with firm, strong family foundations, and who will build firm communities because of their love for their culture; boys who are supposed to participate in building a better nation, and all of us are quiet! I could detect this even when I started with the topic of initiation and the grounds for the issue. We are afraid to talk about difficult issues that confront our people today, but they are a reality. Our people are being slaughtered.
These young children are being abused because our culture has been changed as a result of a form of greed. The greed that is developing in our communities, zinkosi zam [my chiefs], kills the foundations of the norm of ubuntu. Our people have become so greedy.
I put it to you, kings and chiefs, that in this instance you have failed our people. It is the duty of our kings and our chiefs to play the role in society of restoring and protecting what our ancestors and forefathers fought for in building a winning nation.
It is also the collective responsibility of our broken communities. How can communities fold their arms and rather watch a match in which they are playing, whilst innocent children are dying? What kind of community finds it very easy to burn streets, to burn tarred roads, and to burn infrastructure, but when death is involved they are unable to stand up for their people and say, "Not in our name!" I as a traditional man ...
... indoda yomXhosa ... [... a traditional Xhosa man ...] ... say, "Not in my name!" Our culture and ... ... isiko lethu lamaXhosa ... [... our tradition as the Xhosa people ...]
... say, "Not in our name!" Not in our name will those who are greedy and who are killing our children continue to do that!
I call on you, Minister, and ask that we stand together on this. I hold your hand and say that we are going to fight this together.
I went to Kwamagxaki during an oversight visit because I wanted to show South Africa something different, namely that there are areas where this tradition is practised correctly. Minister, in Kwamagxaki all the processes that are supposed to be followed are followed, and for the past 20 to 25 years young men have come back healthy and proud to be men. That is what we want.
What we lack, Minister, is a national framework to be completed speedily as we prepare for December. Unless we are calling for more death, we must have a firm framework that protects these children. That is what they are calling for. That is what communities are calling for.
We also need support for the people who are practitioners. They must be educated. We must not allow people who have never practised in this area to practise. How do you practise in something you do not know? With these few words we recommend to the Minister that we work together in protecting our children. [Time expired.] [Applause.]