Funding for plan to circumcise two million

2010-04-09 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal government will embark on a massive campaign to circumcise over two million males in the province as part of the renewal of the male circumcision ritual announced by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini last year.

Presenting the R419 million budget for the Office of the Premier and the Royal Household at the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature in Pietermaritzburg yesterday, Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that the programme will be formally launched by the king and the Health Department in kwaNongoma tomorrow.

“We now have our tasks cut out for us to circumcise over two million males using the safety of professional techniques and encourage the HIV pre-testing as Isilo [the king] has commanded. This announcement will forever change the course of HIV and Aids in this province.

“The king has used several occasions with public addresses to clarify that the call he made was not to suggest male circumcision is a cure for HIV infection, but it is an additional effort that improves hygiene and may in the long term impact on the reduction of the spreading of the infection,”Mkhize said.

Mkhize said after the launch this weekend, the campaign will be massively introduced in different parts of the province to encourage people to undergo the procedure.

Although the programme will be formally launched this weekend, Mkhize said the provincial Health Department has already done the pilot project whereby people were circumcised as part of the training for the project.

“We will be working in partnership with people from the Jewish community, the Islam community and others who are practising the ritual.”

The premier said the king has also made a call encouraging circumcision to be done on boys shortly after their birth.

After months of uncertainty, Mkhize announced that the long- awaited Royal Household Trust, which will jointly run the affairs of the king with the royal household, is now operating.

The main function of the trust, which has been registered as a government entity, is to ensure the self-sufficiency of the Royal Household through fundraising promotion and maintenance of royal palaces.

In the meantime, the affairs of the Royal Household are going to be the responsibility of both the trust the department.

Mkhize announced that Cyril Xaba, who is the special adviser to the premier, has been appointed the provincial chairman of the planning commission in the province.

The chairman will be responsible for liaising with his national counterparts and ensuring the alignment of the functions and responsibilities of the structure.

Other key projects to be undertaken by the premier’s office in this financial year include heritage and human rights events, provincial co-ordination of 2010 Fifa World Cup activities and setting up of national youth service programmes.

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