Johannesburg - Twenty-six boys have died since the start of the winter initiation season because of botched circumcisions, the traditional affairs department said on Friday.
"The total number of young boys that have lost their lives since the start of the initiation season has risen to 26," said Deputy Traditional Affairs Minister Obed Bapela.
"Twenty-one initiates are from the Eastern Cape, four from Mpumalanga, and one from the Western Cape."
On Thursday, 104 boys were admitted for dehydration, septic circumcision, gangrene, and other related injuries.
Bapela will visit the Eastern Cape next week to assess the areas that have recorded a high number of deaths.
Seven people have been arrested for operating illegal initiation schools in the Eastern Cape.
"The government cannot watch as our children are dying in numbers. This must come to an end," Bapela said.