“In the midst of worrying increasing deaths of initiates in the province, unfortunately, while many parts of the province are handling the initiations safe and proper, areas like Mpondoland continue to register deaths,” Qoboshiyane said in a statement.
At least 19 initiates had died so far in the Eastern Cape during the current circumcision season. The causes of death had not yet been established.
“Post mortem results, which are yet to be released, will indicate what has led to the demise of these young people. We send our heartfelt condolences to their families, especially the parents.”
Qoboshiyane called on parents to be actively involved in the initiation of their children and ensure skilled and well-mannered people initiated them, rather than those out to make quick money.
“In the Mbizana area, the price for traditional initiation has shot up, with reports that some boys are charged between R3000 and R4000 to be initiated… .We condemn this as an act contrary to the tradition of initiation as we know it.”
In the pursuit of making money, people abducted boys, some as young as 12, and took them to initiation schools, he said.
Qoboshiyane said the health department was recruiting doctors and medical staff to help the initiates.