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The number of deaths at circumcision schools in the Eastern Cape is rising, traditional affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane said.
“It has come to our attention that at least 20 young men died in a number of our schools within a short space of time,” Qoboshiyane said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The fact that many young boys are circumcised without consent and knowledge of their parents creates a fertile ground for deaths, amputations and [the] hospitalisation of initiates.”
The MEC called on men in rural communities to help single women find reliable and legitimate circumcision schools for their children.
“We call on communities, families, especially men in our communities to roll up their sleeves and help in fighting this scourge. Men in our rural, urban, farm and township communities must assist female single parents with the circumcision of their sons. Men plying their trade in other provinces must make sure that their sons don’t get circumcised without their consent and permission.”
“This is an important aspect of our life that must not be left to chancers who want to make money out of youngsters. We need to restore the dignity of traditional circumcisions, so as to build responsible and healthy young men in our province.”
The circumcision death toll in the province was not provided.
In December, hospitals in Mthatha were inundated with young men injured from botched circumcisions.
The health department’s spokesman Sizwe Kupelo at the time said the All Saints hospital in Engcobo had admitted 33 initiates, and had to arrange referrals for their injured friends as the wards were full.