New reports put the death toll at the Eastern Cape initiation schools at ten, against the six earlier reported.
BuzzSouthAfrica reported the provincial department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) saying that six youngsters, aged between 16 and 20, were confirmed dead at both illegal and legal schools.
The news media now gather that an additional four young boys have died from circumcision-related injuries at initiation schools bringing the number of the death toll to 10 since the initiation season started in the province three weeks ago.
Provincial department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs spokesman Mamnkeli Ngam said government needed parents and communities to help stop the initiation deaths.
“We send condolences to the bereaved families that have lost such young lives. The provincial government is appealing to parents and the rest of communities to be hands on and help authorities in ensuring that boys are healthy and safe at these schools,” Ngam said on Thursday.
“Parents should not relax and not check on their child even after sending him to a legal initiation schools …being a parent dictates that they know where their child and what he is up to at all times.”
The police department also confirmed on Wednesday that it was following up and investigating the cases and Ngam said Postmortems would be conducted by the department of health to clarify the exact cause of deaths,
However, in the Buffalo City metro, one ingcibi [traditional surgeon] has been arrested for illegal circumcision after parents reported the matter to the local police station. Three other traditional surgeons are still at large.
The province’ monitoring teams have visited more than 5000 initiates in both legal and illegal schools. Those found at illegal schools were integrated to the legal ones and given necessary medical attention, Ngam said.
The initiation season is usually associated with numerous deaths stemming from complications arising from botched circumcisions and other health related issues.
The traditional initiation seasons in the province were marred by botched circumcisions partly due to more people opening illegal school to make a quick buck.
Last year, news media reported more that 25 young people dead and more than 60 were hospitalized across the Eastern Cape. The department blamed the death rise on greedy traditional surgeons who have hijacked the custom to make a quick buck, putting the youngsters’ lives at risk.