Botched ini­ti­a­tion ops lead to sus­pen­sion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

TRA­DI­TIONAL cir­cum­ci­sions were sus­pended in the Pon­doland area yes­ter­day af­ter the death toll from botched cir­cum­ci­sions rose to 22, the East­ern Cape Health Depart­ment said.

The de­ci­sion to sus­pend the cir­cum­ci­sions for this sea­son was taken at a meet­ing be­tween Health MEC Phu­mulo Ma­suale, tra­di­tional heal­ers, sur­geons and com­mu­nity mem­bers in the Lusik­isiki area.

“Those who at­tended the meet­ing were in agree­ment… this will al­low us to in­ter­vene and to deal with those boys who are al­ready on the moun­tain,” said depart­ment spokesman Sizwe Ku­pelo.

Teams com­pris­ing doc­tors, po­lice of­fi­cers, tra­di­tional heal­ers and sur­geons would be dis­patched to var­i­ous posts to as­sess the boys un­der­go­ing ini­ti­a­tion. Hos­pi­tals in the area were un­der pres­sure to deal with the sharp rise in botched cir­cum­ci­sions. This con­trib­uted to the de­ci­sion to put the pro­ce­dure on hold.

Since the start of the win­ter cir­cum­ci­sion sea­son, boys had been brought into health fa­cil­i­ties in “ter­ri­ble con­di­tion”. Most were de­hy­drated and some faced gan­grene de­vel­op­ing in their wounds.

The death toll rose from 20 to 22 from Thurs­day to yes­ter­day morn­ing, said Ku­pelo.

One boy died from his in­juries at the Gx­ulu vil­lage and an­other in a vil­lage out­side East London.

Sixty boys had so far been res­cued from 11 ini­ti­a­tion schools that had since been closed down. They were taken to var­i­ous hos­pi­tals in the area.

Ear­lier this week, seven un­der-age ini­ti­ates were res­cued from an il­le­gal ini­ti­a­tion school run by Mt­shiyelwa Mt­shay­ina Ndoda, a 55-year-old un­reg­is­tered tra­di­tional sur­geon who had been ar­rested sev­eral times for the of­fence.

Ku­pelo said the depart­ment was seek­ing meet­ings with the po­lice, Jus­tice Depart­ment and the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity to dis­cuss the pos­si­bil­ity of set­ting up spe­cial cir­cum­ci­sion courts. – Sapa

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