Circumcisions leave 20 dead


Circumcisions leave 20 dead

19/07/2005 15:41 - (SA)

East London - The circumcision season ended in the Eastern Cape on Sunday with 20 boys dead from botched operations, the provincial health department said on Tuesday.

Eastern Cape health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said that the department had arrested 15 traditional health practitioners throughout the season. The worst area was Pondoland, where 12 boys died.

"In the past week there were at least seven deaths. This means that 20 boys in total have died throughout the season," Kupelo said.

"But schools have reopened and there are few initiation schools left, so workloads have gone down. The circumcision season has ended."


Kupelo said the department had used about 400 surgeons, 425 officials, about 80 4x4 vehicles and three helicopters in the fight against illegal circumcisions.

"The department is going to review the season to see where we went wrong and what needs to be done to improve the situation."

One practitioner has been charged with two counts of culpable homicide and will apply for bail on July 26.

Kupelo said that many traditional surgeons who had been arrested were let off by the police.

"We will have to engage with the police and the National Prosecuting Authority. Some of the traditional health practitioners that were arrested were let off with warnings, without them going to court. We want to stop that."

Genital amputations

There were 5 833 boys circumcised in the Eastern Cape during the school holidays and of those 239 were admitted to hospital. Five genital amputations were conducted.

Kupelo said the department had rescued 535 boys who had been left to die in the bush after their circumcision.

The next circumcision season will be when the school holidays start in November and December.


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