City Press—The People's Paper, South Africa, November 25, 2000.

Bill to regulate circumcision expected

Mncedi Mkokeli

The Eastern Cape health department is waiting anxiously for the implementation of a delayed Bill that is expected to regulate circumcision in order to prevent deaths and injuries, said Health MEC Bevan Goqwana this week.

Goqwana said the proposed bill was supposed to have been passed by parliament in October. He said the matter had been delayed by the office of the president. The bill is aimed at banning the performance of traditional circumcisions without a doctor present to examine initiates.

After the implementation of the bill, traditional Xhosas who resorted to the old bush practice without obtaining a doctor's approval would face heavy fines, he said.

The fine would be up to R5,000 or imprisonment of up to five years, or both. The proposed law would give authority to provincial and local governments to prosecute traditional surgeons for any negligence in circumcisions that could result in the death of initiates.

Meanwhile, Goqwana said the department was educating people about the importance of cleanliness during the initiation rite. He also said communities had to engage the services of experienced men to be traditional surgeons and nurses.

The bill has received a lukewarm welcome from Eastern Cape traditional leaders.

Eastern Cape house of traditional leaders deputy chairperson, Chief Dumisani Gwadiso, told ECN the circumcision rite was safe when monitored by traditional leaders.

"The rite needs no expertise other than proper administration of its affairs." - ECN

Cite as:
(File prepared 11 December 2000)

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