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Surgeons convicted as initiation law takes effect

The new Eastern Cape law bringing safety and sanctity to the traditional male initiation ritual has already resulted in nine traditional surgeons being convicted.

The new Eastern Cape law bringing safety and sanctity to the traditional male initiation ritual has already resulted in nine traditional surgeons being convicted. Picture FILE

One was jailed for 17 years.

The Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders (ECHTL) and stakeholders expressed happiness at the flurry of prosecutions since June this year under the Customary Male Initiation Practice Act.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s Mthatha cluster chief prosecutor, advocate Vuyani Genu, and the police this week each tabled reports which revealed that the police had opened 68 cases. Prosecutors had dealt with 60 of them, and a number had resulted in guilty judgments and sentences. Other cases are still in the system.

Genu outlined the most severe sanction – a 17-year prison sentence for 25-year-old Ngqeleni traditional surgeon Avuyile Mfitshi.

He said that in August, the Mthatha Regional Court sent Mfitshi to jail for murder, attempted murder, and five unlawful circumcisions.

Mfitshi, who was a Grade 12 pupil, had severely beaten five initiates for failing to pay him a R100 circumcision fee, one of them so badly that he died. This happened at Qhokama village.

The report lists a further eight traditional surgeons who have been punished by the law:

lMbizana Magistrate’s Court sentenced Lusikisiki Lulama Ngezana to eight years’ imprisonment for unlawful circumcision and culpable homicide. Half of the sentence was suspended for five years;

lThe Ngqeleni Magistrate’s Court sentenced Sifungo Malamba to 18 months’ direct imprisonment for unlawful circumcision;

lThe Tsolo Magistrate’s Court sentenced Khulabona Fosi to R10000 fine or 24 months’ imprisonment for unlawful circumcision;

lFlagstaff Magistrate’s Court sentenced Mluleki Linyana to pay a fine of R2000 or spend one month in jail for unlawful circumcision;

lMthatha Magistrate’s Court sentenced Sibongiseni Nqabe to pay R1000 or undergo six months’ imprisonment for unlawful circumcision;

lLibode Magistrate’s Court sentenced Mzomhle Fikizolo to five years’ imprisonment for culpable homicide and six months’ imprisonment for unlawful circumcision;

lMthatha Magistrate’s Court sentenced Azola Flarha to pay R1000 or undergo six months’ imprisonment for unlawful circumcision and five years in jail for culpable homicide.

Both sentences were suspended for five years.

lCentane Magistrate’s Court sentenced Mbulelo Matshaya to pay a fine of R600 or undergo 120 days imprisonment for unlawful circumcision. — lulamilef@dispatch.co.za

lSee also our Opinion, page 7