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EC initiate death toll rises

In the latest incident, an Mthatha initiate died as a result of a botched circumcision.

FILE: The department says hospitals are also overcrowded with severely ill initiates seeking medical assistance.  Picture: Sapa.

CAPE TOWN - At least 13 boys have died since the start of the winter initiation season, the Eastern Cape Health Department said on Tuesday.

Officials say hospitals are also overcrowded with severely ill initiates seeking medical assistance.

Earlier on Tuesday, an initiate in Mthatha died as a result of a botched circumcision.

The department's Sizwe Kupelo urged police and the National Prosecuting Authority to bring criminal charges against the perpetrators.

"We have set aside R20 million for the situation. We are concerned and are asking locals to help get the situation under control."