Criminal offence to carry out traditional circumcision this winter

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Any traditional circumcision and initiation this winter season will be regarded as a criminal offence that carries a fine, a prison sentence, or both. This will also apply to female initiation (intonjane), reports the Daily Dispatch.

Driving home the uncompromising position taken by traditional leaders and the provincial government, Nkosi Langa Mavuso, deputy provincial chair of Contralesa, said that anyone flouting the Eastern Cape Customary Male Initiation Act and the Disaster Management Act would face the full might of the law. Punishment will be particularly severe on those operating illegal schools this winter.

The report says if found to be in contravention of the Eastern Cape Customary Male Initiation Act, they will face a R20,000 fine or a year in jail. If any initiate dies at such a school, the penalty will be least 25 years in prison. In terms of individual transgressors, they will be liable for a fine between R1,500 and R5,000, imprisonment of up to six months or both if found to be contravening the Disaster Management Act.

Mavuso, who is also the acting chair of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders (ECHTL), said: “Both male and female initiation and any ceremonies relating to that are suspended this winter season. Offenders will be seen as intentionally defying traditional leaders and government, and their actions would be tantamount to intentional transmission of the coronavirus and the murder of young boys or girls.”

The report says this comes after the Eastern Cape government and traditional leaders agreed to suspend the rite of passage to manhood for the winter initiation season due to the pandemic.

Full Daily Dispatch report

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