October 20, 2013
R3m claim for six 'botched' circumcisionsby Amanda Khoza
Durban - The parents of six boys from Dassenhoek who were allegedly circumcised without consent are suing New Start clinic for R3 million [$US 305,000] in damages.
The clinic, which is managed by Society for Family Health and Thatenda Health Care, is a partnership with the Department of Health. It runs six male circumcision centres in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga.
In May, the Sunday Tribune reported that parents of 19 boys, aged 11 to 19, from Dassenhoek, near Mariannhill, laid charges against New Start over circumcisions.
Some of the boys experienced post-operative complications, swelling or bleeding of the penis or infected wounds. A case of assault with grievous bodily harm was opened.
The boys were picked up in groups by a man in a vehicle bearing the New Start logo from April to May.
Busisiwe Ntiga, 29, was at work when her 11-year-son was circumcised. She alleges the KZN Department of Health offered them money for their silence.
“One official told us we can be paid before the matter goes any further. They tried to silence us with money but we refused,” said Ntiga.
The KZN Department of Health has failed to respond.
Attorney Naheem Rehman, for the parents, said: “In terms of the Children’s Act, consent is required by a health practitioner before undertaking any procedure. Circumcision of children under the age of 16 is strictly prohibited unless it is done for medical or religious purposes. Any one who contravenes this law faces a 10-year jail sentence or will be fined.”
He said the Society for Family Health had until this week to respond to the letter of demand or summons would be issued.
Director of the society’s South African branch, Scott Billy, said the organisation had not received the letter and they were not aware of the claim.
However, the Sunday Tribune has seen a copy of a registered letter signed on behalf of New Start clinic acknowledging the letter of demand.
The July edition of the KZN Health Bulletin boasted more than 239 000 KZN men had been successfully circumcised since 2010, with not a single death or botched procedure – even though the Sunday Tribune highlighted the case of the Dassenhoek boys.
Meanwhile, Wentzell Ngidi, 26, the fast food employee from Umlazi whose entire skin was removed from his penis during a botched circumcision on September 21, is recovering at St Aidan’s Hospital and awaiting plastic surgery.
“I am still in a lot of pain,” said Ngidi this week.
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