Circumcision death toll now rises to 33

The rate of circumcision deaths in the Pondoland is very high. Picture:LULAMILE FENI 24/06/2010. © Daily Dispatch.
The rate of circumcision deaths in the Pondoland is very high. Picture:LULAMILE FENI 24/06/2010. © Daily Dispatch.

THE number of initiates who have died of complications after botched circumcisions at illegal schools in Eastern Cape has now risen from 28 to 33.

THE number of initiates who have died of complications after botched circumcisions at illegal schools in Eastern Cape has now risen from 28 to 33.

The latest five victims include a teenage boy who was allegedly assaulted at one of the schools. The assault allegedly took place last week but the incident was not reported to his family. Instead, the teenager was taken to a neighbour's house at Moyeni in Libode.

The other four initiates died as a result of complications following their circumcision.

Sizwe Kupelo, provincial health department spokesperson, said yesterday they were concerned about what was happening at the illegal schools.

"We worry about these young boys being circumcised the wrong way. When we raid these illegal schools, the villagers hide them," he said.

"The initiate who was attacked could have been saved had they not hidden him when our officials raided the school. Instead of taking him to hospital they took him to a neighbour's house and ordered him to take him to hospital. His family was not notified about the attack."

He said officials raided the school last week but found only one initiate. He was taken to hospital, where he was treated for dehydration and septicaemia.

"The attacked initiate died yesterday morning and it was only then that the incident was confirmed by the department. Today, a delegation from government will meet with traditional representatives from western Pondoland to discuss suspending the circumcision season," Kupelo said.

"The only way we can stop these unnecessary deaths is through the intervention of traditional leaders.

"We have raided a number of schools in both eastern and western Pondoland but still the number of initiates dying as a result of botched circumcisions keeps rising.

"We urge parents not to send their children to these illegal school."

The Eastern Cape Act on Circumcision stipulates that a doctor must see the initiates before the circumcision procedure starts. The Act also stipulates that the "surgeon" performing the circumcision must have a certificate permitting him to carry out the procedure. Failure to produce a certificate can lead to arrest.

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