First arrest of circumcision season

News  South African Press Association. Wednesday, 9 November 2005.

A young man has been arrested for illegally circumcising two teenagers at Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape, provincial health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said on Tuesday.

He said the man, arrested at the weekend, would also be charged with running an unauthorised initiation school.

The boys, aged 15 and 16, had been admitted to Celia Makiwane Hospital.

Kupelo said the arrest was the first of the summer circumcision season in the province.

He said health MEC Monwabisi Goqwana met provincial police commissioner Sipho Mpongoma last week to urge that people arrested on circumcision charges be held in custody at least until the end of the season, so they could not perform more operations.

The matter would also be taken up with the department of justice.

This was part of the department's no-nonsense approach to the issue, Kupelo said.

He said chiefs delegated by the province's House of Traditional Leaders, plus department officials and police representatives, held a series of imbizos on circumcision at different venues in the Libode area east of Mthatha on Tuesday.

The public meetings were part of the department's programme to educate communities on the need for safe and legal circumcision.

Kupelo said feedback was that community attendance and response were very encouraging, and he hoped this meant the department was winning the circumcision war.

About half the 23 deaths in the 2005 winter circumcision season were in the Libode area.


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