5 arrested for initiate deaths

EC police have arrested five suspects in connection with the deaths of 30 initiates.

Eastern Cape police have arrested five suspects in connection with the deaths of 30 initiates. Picture: iWN

JOHANNESBURG - At least five people were arrested on Monday in connection with the deaths of 30 initiates in the Eastern Cape.

Since the beginning of the initiation season in the province a total of 283 initiates have been hospitalised.

The injured are being treated for dehydration, gangrene and septic wounds while others have lost their genitals.

In the latest incident, 10 initiates were rescued from a forest in Mbizana on Sunday.

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Colonel Sibongile Soci said, "A number of cases ranging from murder to unlawful circumcision have been opened for circumcision related incidents since the beginning of the season."

Meanwhile, Eastern Cape Health Department Spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said on Monday the number of boys in need of medical treatment due to botched circumcision puts added pressure on the resources at their health facilities.

"One hospital is treating over 36 boys. Now we've got to prioritise the boys over the entire group."

Kupelo said something urgently needs to be done as more lives continue to be lost during the initiation season in the province.