Motsoaledi: Don't let thugs kill children

2014-06-12 21:19
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Parents must report illegal initiation schools and not allow "thugs" to kill children in pursuit of profit, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Thursday.

"Please regard it as a national duty... that we cannot allow thugs to kill our children to chase money," he told reporters in Pretoria.

Initiations were the primary responsibility of the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa), and the House of Traditional Leaders.

The health department's role was to provide health screening for initiates, as many deaths were attributable to pre-existing conditions.

Contralesa could choose private doctors, to be paid by the state, to help with initiations. The doctors needed to understand traditional practice and customs.

"We [the health department] accepted that. They will know that these are the people who are practitioners of this culture, who is also a doctor," Motsoaledi said.

Roving doctors contracted by the health department would help initiation schools and initiates in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, and the Eastern Cape.

Last year, when eight doctors worked in Limpopo between July and August, 22 325 circumcisions were performed without a single death.

"You don't even remember a single death... that is why no one has heard about it," Motsoaledi said.

It was hoped around 200 000 circumcisions would be performed this winter, when most initiations took place, and summer.

Motsoaledi said initiations were an important rite of passage for many South African boys into manhood. It had been practised for centuries.

- SAPA
Read more on:    aaron motsoaledi  |  circumcision  |  health  |  initiation
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