At least 21 boys dies from circumcision during initiation ceremony in South Africa

Authorities in South Africa says no fewer than 21 young boys have died during a bi-annual circumcision ceremony, which started in November despite the government's crackdown on illegal initiation.

Local media reports says seventeen of the boys died in Eastern Cape province, with two others in the North West and
Western Cape.

The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) blamed the deaths of the boys on the "lack of of support and resources in programmes aimed at reducing the number of casualties" from the government.

The group's spokesperson said the government should declare initiation-related deaths "a national disaster".

Contralesa says investigations are underway to uncover what what led to the deaths of the young boys.

Eastern Cape co-operative governance and traditional affairs spokesperson Mamkeli Ngam said families should do more to curb the deaths.

"It is not government's responsibility to ensure that people go to the bush, it's a family issue, a parental issue and a community issue working hand-in-hand with traditional leaders," he said.

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