Death toll rises in circumcision schools

News  South African Press Association (South Africa). Monday, 3 December 2007.

The death toll in the Eastern Cape's summer circumcision season has risen to three. External link Health Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo says an 18-year-old youth died in the early hours of Sunday morning at an illegal initiation school at Gxulu village in the Libode area.

He says though the cause is not known, health officials suspect dehydration. Following the death, a 22-year-old unregistered traditional surgeon has been arrested and will be appearing in the Libode Magistrates Court later this week.

Two other would-be initiates died last week; one at Mthatha General Hospital and the other certified dead on arrival at the hospital.

Kupelo says community members apprehended six juveniles, one only 14 years old, who were allegedly circumcising other boys in the Pondoland area. The six have been handed over to police.

He says a team from the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders, the provincial health department and the police will be in Pondoland this week to talk to would-be initiates, communities and parents, in a bid to educate them on safe circumcision.

The team is to move to the Port Elizabeth area nextweek. - Sapa


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