July 4, 2014
Circumcision death toll rises, four in courtAt least 26 boys have died since the start of the winter initiation season because of botched circumcisions, the Traditional Affairs department said on Friday.
"The total number of young boys that have lost their lives since the start of the initiation season has risen to 26," said Deputy Traditional Affairs Minister Obed Bapela.
"Twenty-one initiates are from the Eastern Cape, four from Mpumalanga, and one from the Western Cape."
On Thursday, 104 boys were admitted for dehydration, septic circumcision, gangrene, and other related injuries.
Seven people have been arrested for operating illegal initiation schools in the Eastern Cape. "The government cannot watch as our children are dying in numbers. This must come to an end," Bapela said.
Meanwhile, four people appeared in the Libode Magistrate's Court in the Eastern Cape this week in connection with illegal circumcisions, the National Prosecuting Authority said on Friday.
Three male teenagers, aged between 16 and 17, appeared on Thursday on charges of unlawful circumcision after they circumcised another 16-year-old boy in a village near Libode, said NPA Mthatha region spokesperson Luxolo Tyali.
"The young initiate was rescued by the police on Tuesday and is currently in a serious condition at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital at Mthatha."
On Wednesday, 24-year-old Samkelo Mvubu appeared in the same court on two counts of murder and two counts of contravening the Health Standards Traditional Circumcision Act No 6 of 2001.
Mvubu allegedly circumcised two of the initiates who died on Monday at Luthubeni village near Libode.