The head of urology at the Nelson Mandela Academic hospital in the Eastern Cape, Mbuyiselo Madiba has called for a pause in traditional circumcisions to assess why 17 initiates have already died in the province.

He says there should be a moment of observation to find out what has gone wrong.

Madiba says boys will not be deprived this rite of passage but medical circumcision can work while an assessment is done.

“Lets not do any traditional circumcision but because other people have got targets then let circumcision be done by medically trained people at the kingdoms or chieftaincy place where they are going to be observed until they are completely healed.”

“A person who performs circumcision on young men is not making a boy to manhood, no it’s not the case… what is important, it is that process or period where you are educated on what is it to be a man.”

However, the House of Traditional Leaders is not in favour of medical circumcision.

Chairperson, Nkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana, says if parents and boys follow the custom, initiates will return from the bush without complications.

“Both the House of Traditional leaders and Congress of Traditional leaders of South Africa in this province will never ever allow this…. In fact for many years now we knew that the underlying cause is for those people saying that traditional circumcision should be abolished, so that medical circumcision should actually be the order of the day. We reject that with the contempt it deserves. We will never support that, we oppose that with everything in our power.”