East Cape circumcision death toll at 33
Yet another would-be initiate has died at an illegal circumcision school in the Eastern Cape, the province's health department said on Thursday.
The death brings the toll for this winter's circumcision season to 33.
Department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said on Thursday morning he was on his way to the village of Moyeni near Libode, where a youth had died only hours earlier.
"What is upsetting is that last week, we went there and the villagers hid these boys away. Now they are calling us when this boy is dead," he said.
"It's very upsetting and unnecessary, because we could have saved this boy."
He said when department officials raided the school last week they managed to rescue only one boy, who was still being treated in hospital for dehydration and septicaemia.
News of the death came as traditional leaders sought to extend a moratorium on circumcision to the whole of Pondoland.
Two would-be initiates died on Wednesday, one at Machibi village near Port St Johns, and the other in the Lusikisiki area.
Scores of victims of botched circumcisions are being treated in hospitals in the region.
This week alone doctors at St Elizabeth's Hospital in Lusikisiki amputated two gangrenous penises, while their counterparts at Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha performed more than a dozen partial amputations to remove gangrenous tissue.