The deputy traditional affairs minister, Obed Bapela, says he wants the government to implement municipal bylaws protecting initiates before next year’s winter circumcision season.
This was necessary for helping “government to deal harshly with cruel and heartless thugs who kidnapped and assaulted young initiates in the name of culture”, Bapela said this week.
He was making his views known through a statement to mark the conclusion of this winter’s initiation season, Rekord Moot reported.
The annual season sees young men taking their journey to manhood.
Bapela said: “It is unacceptable that initiates should still die even when we have put mechanisms in place to address this challenge.”
His department said initiates were dying from complications after botched circumcisions.
It said government had pulled out all the stops to prevent the deaths but the problem still persisted.
Government had called on families, parents and legal guardians to choose the initiation schools for their children to wisely.
Schools should perform health screening and proper registration of initiates, and use qualified surgeons with a good track record.
The department said 27 initiates had died this season – two in Gauteng, 18 in Eastern Cape, two in Limpopo and Mpumalanga and three in North West.
– Caxton News Service