The launch of the Winter Initiation season in the Eastern Cape has heard shocking statistics of botched circumcisions. It’s estimated that over 1000 initiates have lost their manhood.

Eastern Cape Traditional Affairs MEC, Fikile Xasa says the death toll of initiates in the province is influenced by increasing commercialisation of the ritual.

He says bogus traditional nurses and surgeon’s crisscross the rural areas touting for underage boys desperate to be circumcised.

“Yes, we noted that there are traditional nurses and surgeons who see the season of initiation as a money-making period, there are those who become rich. There are those who become rich out of it, and even in the law we are still trying to regulate how much this thing should cost because in most of areas we visit we see the number of boys that get into initiation school. The number in itself without knowing how much is being charged there are those who are not even qualified to do it but who want to make money out of it.”

Meanwhile, Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital CEO, Mthandeki Xhamlashe, says 15 boys had their genitals amputated last year. He says there is a penal reconstruction pilot project underway.

“The issue of plastic reconstruction at the moment is still a long term plan of government. There is a pilot project which is obviously led by the University of Stellenbosch and Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital and some tests have been done and is still under observation and I am pretty sure over time there will be reports in relation to how that is performing. The costs is going to be exorbitant and therefore access maybe difficult, we are talking now more than 1000 of these amputees.”