Traditional leaders reject SA govt ban on winter circumcision season

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The SA government has banned traditional circumcision for the upcoming winter season, raising the ire of traditional leaders, reports Times Select.

The Department of Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs (Cogta), last week, issued a directive to provinces that no boys will be allowed to be circumcised due to the nationwide lockdown and COVID-19 pandemic. However, traditional leaders believe that, by June, the lockdown will be lifted and the pandemic under control.

Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders chair Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana confirmed the government’s decision, but reportedly expressed shock that the ban had been implemented without consultation. “We told the government that it would not be appropriate for us to endorse their decision without consulting the communities which would be directly affected by such a decision. The government is inclined to say that we should not have initiation in 2020, but as the house we are unable to support that without proper consultation with the communities concerned,” Nonkonyana said.

However, health and traditional circumcision experts supported government’s decision, saying any relaxation of the regulations after the lockdown could be catastrophic for traditional circumcision. Urologist Dr Ntuthuzelo Lusawana said it was the most advisable thing to do. Circumcision expert Zola Tshayana agreed: “The country will need at least three months before everything goes back to normal. We are in a crisis already. Government and our health system cannot overburden itself with circumcision. Boys must wait for next year if they do not want to use the summer season.”

Takuwani Riime Men's Movement national spokesperson Ntando Yola said his movement supported the move. And Gauteng Men’s Forum chair Bongani Ngomane said his organisation supported government's decision, “especially during winter, due to COVID-19".

Eastern Cape Cogta spokesperson Mamnkeli Ngam confirmed that government had taken a decision to ban circumcision.

Full Times Select report

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