East Cape News (Grahamstown)

25 October 2001

South Africa: Bisho Legislatue Passes Bill On Regulation Circumcision

Bisho — Bisho opposition parties yesterday (subs: thurs) came out in support of the ANC and passed a much-needed bill which regulates traditional circumcision.

The Act introduced by acting Health MEC Max Mamase lays down rules for the the maintenance of hygenic conditions when the custom is perfomed.

It calls for irresponsible Iingcibi and amakhankatha (traditional surgeons and nurses) to be fined R10 000 or imprisoned up to ten years for contravening the Act.

Mamase said the Act would ensure that initiates were only circumcised after with parents or gurdians had given' permission and initiates had to be 18 or older.

Health standing committee chairperson Mahlubandile Qwase of the ANC said only in "rare circumstances" could boys older than 16 years be circumsised.

UDM MPL Pofolo Kakudi said the national assembly was supposed to have played a role in the compilation of the Act in order to ensure national uniformity.

Because of cultural diversity, some people could be convicted of breaching the law because they were using their own "style".

The Act needed to be "equally and similarly applicable to all concerned".

He called for more emphasis on training Iingcibi and amakhankatha and for the process to be community-driven.

Traditional authorities had to play a major role in accrediting potential initiates and traditional surgeons.

DA Leader Athol Trollip said the issue of "fly-by-night" traditional surgeons" who cashed-in on circumcisions should be dealt with.

He said the Act was"long overdue" with the number of botched circumcisions icreasing all the time.

The laws also seeks to ensure that boys are examined medically while instruments must be sterilized.

ANC MPL Themba Manyosi circumcision schools should be "humanly habitable and worth living in in terms of health standards"

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