Circumcision: Parents to face prosecution

News  The Star (Johannesburg). Tuesday, 1 July 2008.

Eastern Cape parents who are negligent over their sons' circumcision will face the full might of the law, the  External link provincial health department warned on Tuesday.

Parents should be in the forefront of the fight against unnecessary deaths and complications from traditional circumcision, said department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo.

Negligent parents will now be charged for contravening provisions of the Traditional Circumcision Act which regulates the custom in the province.

His warning came as the recorded death toll in the current winter circumcision season in the province climbed to 14.

A total of 91 other initiates were being treated in various hospitals, four of them facing possible genital amputation, he said.

The hospitalisation was costing the province an average of R1 000 an initiate a day, Kupelo said.

In addition, 535 initiates had been treated and discharged at Cecilia Makhiwane hospital in East London.

He said the act laid down that a parent or guardian had to take full responsibility for an initiate, and had to co-operate fully with authorities in the interest of the initiate's health.

Parents found guilty of contravening the act faced a fine of R1 000 or six months in jail.

Hotspot areas for the current circumcision problems were Ntabankulu, Libode, Ngqeleni, Bizana, Mthatha and Port St Johns, all in the Transkei.

Kupelo said a team of traditional leaders, police and department officials would visit Pondoland this week to raise awareness of how to curb circumcision deaths and complications.

The team would also embark on rescue operation campaigns to save initiates whose health was at risk. - Sapa


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