Johannesburg - Initiation schools should abide by the Children's Act when performing circumcision on boys, the National Prosecuting Authority said on Wednesday.
“Those who contravene these sections will be prosecuted,” NPA spokesman Nathi Mncube said in a statement.
He said according to section 12 (8) of the act, boys under the age of 16 may only be circumcised if this was performed for religious purposes, or if the circumcision procedure was necessary for medical reasons, which were based upon the recommendation of a medical practitioner.
The act states that anyone who is guilty of contravening this section will be liable to a term of imprisonment up to 10 years, a fine, or a fine and imprisonment.
A repeat offender may be liable for a term of up to 20 years' imprisonment a fine, or a fine and imprisonment.
In relation to boys over the age of 16, the act stipulates that circumcision procedures can only be performed if “the child has given consent to the circumcision in the prescribed manner, after proper counselling of the child and in the manner prescribed”.
According to section 12 (9) of the act, boys who undergo circumcision procedures should receive proper counselling and the boy must give written consent on the form prescribed by regulation.
The section of the act also stipulates that the circumcision procedure should be “performed by either a medical practitioner or a person who has been trained to perform circumcisions and who has knowledge of the child's social and cultural practices”.
In accordance with Regulation 5(2), the procedure should be performed in a sterile environment and the human tissue should be properly disposal of.
“In instances where death ensues due to negligence, the responsible persons will be charged with culpable homicide,” the act stipulates.
Taking into consideration the child's age, maturity and stage of development, every male child has a right to refuse circumcision, the act says.