Initiation has become criminal, says Motsolaedi

Illegal initiation schools have turned the circumcision culture into "something criminal", says Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi in the Times.

"The mushrooming of initiation schools is seen every single day in Eastern Cape. Hooligans … tsotsis take advantage and prey on this custom … It has turned into something criminal and no longer has anything to do with culture. Young lives are being destroyed," said the minister in Monday's report.

The Eastern Cape health department said at the weekend that 30 initiates died from circumcision-related injuries so far and nearly 300 were hospitalised.

"Some parents are blackmailed into paying for their children's safety," said Motsoaledi.

"Because of the belief that children must be left at these initiation schools, parents do not report them missing to the police in fear of going against tradition."

READ Circumcision: No harm in asking the question

Cultural practices
In June, the Mail & Guardian revealed government's lack of numbers around circumcision-related deaths and injuries.

There was national outrage in May when news emerged that 27 boys died during initiation in Mpumalanga province. President Jacob Zuma echoed the national outrage at the unnecessary loss of lives, saying: "It cannot be acceptable that every time young men reach this crucial time in their development, their lives are culled in the most painful of ways in the care of circumcision schools."

MPs defended cultural practices, called for the arrest of those responsible for the deaths, a clampdown on fly-by-night initiation schools and "culturepreneurs", and demanded better monitoring of the initiation process to ensure safe health practices.

But with poor record keeping at the outset, it was unclear whether the state has any sort of plan to prevent the death and mutilation of the boys who would be men.

At the time, Democratic Alliance spokesperson on traditional affairs George Boinamo pointed out that not all boys who are injured report to hospitals for treatment and that not all boys who die following traditional circumcision find their way to mortuaries.

"If an initiate dies at initiation schools, the culture is you don't bring the body home. The body is buried at the initiation school, in the bush wherever they are in the mountain. The death is not reported before the burial," he said. – Additional reporting by Faranaaz Parker

Advertisting

Mabuza’s ‘distant relative’ scored big

Eskom’s woes are often because of boiler problems at its power plants. R50-billion has been set aside to fix them, but some of the contracts are going to questionable entities

ANC faction gunning for Gordhan

The ambush will take place at an NEC meeting about Eskom. But the real target is Cyril Ramaphosa

What the law could clarify this year

Lawfare: Major developments are on the cards where law and politics meet, including the first amendment to South Africa’s Bill of Rights

The secret ‘Warmonger’ at the SSA

A listening device acquired by the agency is at the centre of an alleged R600-million fraud operation
Advertising

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.