NEWS24.COM, Johannesburg, Saturday, 18 June 2005.

Boy dies at initiation school

18/06/2005 20:21 - (SA)

Johannesburg - One youth has died at an initiation school at Engcobo in the Eastern Cape, the provincial health department said on Saturday.

A further nine boys were taken to the St Barnabas Hospital after the police and the department's officials closed another initiation school at Magcakini near Libode, the department's spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said.

The school's traditional nurse was arrested on charges of running the school without a permit from the provincial health department, Kupelo said.

He said the 2001 Traditional Circumcision Act, which regulates the custom in the Eastern Cape, requires that traditional nurses obtain permits before running initiation schools.

At Mamfengwini village, all initiates ran away after the police raided the school, which is run by a traditional surgeon the police are hoping to arrest on Sunday, Kupelo said.

Since 1995, more than 6 000 boys have been admitted to different hospitals in the Eastern Cape, more than 300 have died and 76 had their genitals amputated due to botched circumcision.

"We are attempting to curb that," Kupelo said, adding that a helicopter was used when the initiation schools were raided.

(File created 19 June 2005)