Botched circumcision has claimed at least 10 lives in South Africa since the start of the winter initiation season began two weeks ago, health authorities confirmed on Sunday.
All the deaths were reported in Eastern Cape Province, where most of circumcision-related deaths take place every year.
Most of the fatalities resulted from pneumonia, dehydration and assault, the provincial health department said.
This came despite a pledge by the government to ensure a zero-death initiation season. The government has vowed to take tougher actions against botched circumcisions which kill many youths every year.
All the initiation problems were occurring in districts, including Tsolo, Libode, Ngqeleni and Bizana in the eastern part of the province. Local traditional leader Chief Gcobani Tyhali has urged parents to also play their role.
“The problem we are encountering is the lack of cooperation with the societies, the parents are not playing their part as parents,” said Tyhali.
Some of the initiates go to the initiation schools without their parents’ consent, and others end up going to illegal schools, the SABC said.
Circumcision is a major and sacred stage in the African culture which sees the transition from child to adulthood. According to the tradition, young males have to be circumcised as the passage to adulthood.
In 2015, during winter and summer Initiation seasons, approximately 101 initiates lost their lives (most in the Eastern Cape) and in the last 10 years there has been an estimated 1,000 penile amputations.