YCL wants circumcision details

2010-01-20 19:09

Durban - King Goodwill Zwelithini needs to clarify whether the KwaZulu-Natal government's male circumcision drive will be part of an initiation-like process, the Young Communist Party (YCL) said on Wednesday.

"A sense of confusion has been engulfing people of KwaZulu-Natal since the king announced to reintroduce [sic] the practice of circumcision last year," the league said in a statement.

It was confused about whether the circumcisions would be part of a traditional initiation, similar to that practised by Xhosas in the Eastern Cape, or would simply be a government-sponsored procedure.

The YCL said it supported any programme aimed at preventing the spread of HIV, but stressed that clarity on how the circumcisions would be performed was crucial.

The king's spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.

The Zulu king announced last year he would revive the circumcision custom to help prevent the spread of HIV.

The KwaZulu-Natal government threw its weight behind the idea.

Govt paying for everything

On Tuesday, Premier Zweli Mkhize announced it would start a massive male circumcision programme before the end of this year.

Speaking during a workshop in Pietermaritzburg, Mkhize said the government would pay for everything.

Government health officials would carry out the procedures. Nobody would be allowed to circumcise people without training.

The government would pay for the halls and tents where circumcisions would take place, mainly during winter school holidays.

Mkhize said a number of studies had shown that while male circumcision did not provide complete protection against HIV infection, it lowered the risk of heterosexual HIV transmission.

King Shaka Zulu stopped the custom more than 200 years ago because he felt too many men were unable to fight his wars because they had septic wounds from circumcision.