The death toll for the current Eastern Cape initiation season has risen to 14, according to the provincial health department.
Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said that by Saturday afternoon 14 initiates had died, compared to 10 by Friday afternoon.
Five of the boys were from Nyandeni, four from Mhlonhlo, one from Qaukeni, one from Chris Hani, one from Amathole and one from Alfred Nzo.
Kupelo said five of the initiates were from legal initiation schools, while the others were from illegal schools.
The boys were among a number of initiates admitted to hospital due to a combination of problems ranging from botched circumcisions to dehydration and pneumonia.
On Thursday, Kupelo said St Barnabas Hospital in Libode in the Eastern Cape was facing a crisis due to an influx of initiates.
Shortage of beds
Altogether 36 initiates had been admitted to the hospital and it had run out of beds.
“Six ordinary medical cases could not be admitted [on Wednesday night] due to a shortage of beds as a result of initiate influx,” he said at the time.
The provincial health department had to intervene by moving some of the boys to Dr Malizo Mphehle Hospital to avert a crisis.
Kupelo said circumcisions were being performed on initiates by people who did not know how to perform them.
Non-governmental organisation Community Development Foundation for South Africa (Codefsa), which is assisting with circumcision rescue operations in the area, had agreed to erect a rescue centre behind the hospital.
Chief Bokleni, a senior chief in the area, had given his permission for the land behind the hospital – not part of the property – to be used.
Kupelo said Codefsa would carry the costs, while the health department would need to provide support with medical kits and monitoring personnel.
“Chief Bokleni will assign reputable traditional nurses for the duration of their stay [and] health nurses and doctors will monitor. Security guards will be assigned to secure the initiation village or rescue centre,” he said.
Dirk Lotriet, News24
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