WITH a week or so to go before the end of initiation season, concern has been raised over a marked increase in deaths due to botched circumcisions.
The death toll, which has shot to 42 in just three weeks, has already surpassed and nearly doubled last year’s figure. Last year 26 initiates died.
The Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders (ECHTL), which is leading a provincial campaign seeking to ensure safety in initiation schools, said eight initiates had died since Saturday. The last death was reported yesterday morning.
ECHTL deputy chairman Prince Zolile Burns-Ncamashe, in his condolences message to the 42 bereaved families, described the death statistics as unfortunate.
"As the house, we think that an urgent resource mobilisation commitment is necessary particularly by government departments who work with this sector,” Burns-Ncamashe said.
OR Tambo District Municipality traditional circumcision convenor Nkosi Gcobani Tyali said the figure was shocking.
"About 25 of the reported deaths are in the OR Tambo district and all the five penile amputations are also in this region,” Tyali said.
He said about 95% of the deaths in OR Tambo were boys under the age of 18. According to the law regulating traditional circumcisions, only initiates over 18 years old can undergo the rite.
Tyali said on Monday, a 16-year-old initiate died in Tsolo after he was circumcised by a bogus traditional surgeon.
The surgeon was granted R1000 bail when he appeared in the Tsolo Magistrate’s Court yesterday.