Eastern Cape circumcision death toll rises to 21

The death toll in the Eastern Cape’s summer circumcision season now stands at 21, the provincial health department said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said it had emerged that four more boys died at illegal initiation schools last weekend.

The schools were in the Mthatha area, at Gompo in East London, and at Ndakana outside King William’s Town.

He said of the total number of deaths so far, five victims were from the Libode-Ngqeleni area, four from Mthatha, three from Cathcart, three at Lusikisiki, two from Butterworth, and one each from Sterkspruit, Gompo, Whittlesea and Ndakana.

Autopsies would be conducted for all the deaths that happened outside hospitals, Kupelo said.

On Wednesday health department officials had rescued 18 youths from illegal schools in the Maclear area.

The youths, suffering from complaints including dehydration, septicaemia and gangrene, were taken to hospitals in Maclear and Mthatha.

Kupelo said a total of 33 initiates were currently being treated at Mthatha’s Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital.—Sapa

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