Act fails to stop bogus surgeons

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

The legislation regulating circumcision came in for sharp criticism from traditional healers yesterday.

The Traditional Circumcision Association in Buffalo City in the Eastern Cape said the Traditional Circumcision Act was ineffective because it failed to deal with bogus traditional surgeons.

The head of the association, Isaac Nojokwana Olayi, said: "The act needs to be reviewed by the stakeholders because it has failed to stop unauthorised surgeons and nurses from practising the ritual."

Olayi, who has practised as a traditional surgeon for two decades, said that illegal initiations put parents in a tight spot because they often could not afford to pay for the care of their sons at initiation schools.

Olayi said some boys decided to be circumcised without their parents' knowledge.

"This puts more pressure on parents because they had not budgeted for it," he said.

The circumcision coordinator for the provincial health department, Zweliphakamile Dweba, agreed that sections of the act should be reviewed.

"We have identified flaws regarding the failure of certain surgeons to comply with the act," Dweba said.

In terms of the act, traditional surgeons and nurses, and the initiates, must complete legal documentation before the ritual can be performed.