Unofficial initiation schools run by conmen

The Health Minister says conmen out to make a quick buck are responsible for botched circumcisions.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi talks about the 2012 global Aids report and local data from the 2011 report. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Thursday conmen who are out to make a quick buck are responsible for the deaths of initiates who die of botched circumcisions.

The Minister was speaking after the launch of a medical male circumcision campaign at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in Pretoria.

At least 28 young men died in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces over the past month.

Motsoaledi said the deaths took place at initiation schools which were not recognised by the house of traditional leaders.

He said these were merely commercial benches that come at the expense of the initiates.

"If you charge about R1,000 per initiate and you have 500 initiates you've got half a million Rands already. It's fast money and that's exactly what we're observing here."

The Minister said laws are in place to govern who operates initiation schools, but these conmen abuse the legislation.

"People hide behind democracy siting it as a right to culture expression. They come and launch it here in the city and say it's their culture."

Motsoaledi is satisfied that the police are now investigating the deaths.