As Covid-19 disruptions continue to upset the initiation season, an influx of boys may target the summer season, which may not be desirable for the district, according to Ayanda Mxekezo, the Chris Hani district health department circumcision co-ordinator and district forum secretary.
This, he said, is because Chris Hani is notorious for a high dehydration rate which usually comes with the heat in the summer season.
Mxekezo said:”We encourage the boys to go in winter instead of summer, because of the heavy heat conditions and dehydration is not that vast in winter compared with summer. In winter they are able to recover quicker, but the advent of Covid-19 is a problem.”
He said a number of boys who had planned to be initiated during the winter school holidays were unfortunate. ”Only those who are not currently studying and those receiving their tertiary education through online platforms were able to go for circumcision.”
In the weeks since the start of the season, he said, the young boys had responded positively to mobile services where they were tested for Covid-19.
”The schedule for mobile testing ended last Friday in Sakhisizwe in Elliot. According to that schedule the initiates were going to have their surgical procedures on Saturday or Sunday, because Covid-19 test results were only valid for three days.”
Another disruption introduced by level adjustments and Covid-19 was the changes introduced in the school calendar as far as holidays were concerned.
”If we make the traditional male circumcision dependent on school holidays it becomes an issue because the holidays are reduced due to Covid-19. If only the youth were allowed to go as soon as the season is opened, because the school holidays, which were usually four weeks, are now only three weeks.”
Meanwhile, a press statement issued by the provincial department of cooperative governance MEC Xolile Nqatha has called for all stakeholders involved in the practice of circumcision to co-operate. “The third wave is raging and we must all work together to ensure no mushrooming of traditional huts in our areas. Our law enforcement agencies are ready to deal with any deviations to the regulations, including closing down illegal [establishments].”
The provincial house of traditional leaders acting chairperson, Nkosi Langa Mavuso, also said in the statement: “Parents are expected to comply with section 19 of the disaster management regulations without fail or resistance. Celebration ceremonies can be organised at a later stage when the current conditions necessitated by the Covid 19 pandemic have improved.”
Chris Hani District Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mqamelo said the district initiation forum, the department of health and Cogta would table a report on all the local municipalities on Monday.