A nine-year-old student in Eastwood, Pietermaritzburg, was circumcised by "wrong" by a family health program at his school. The family reported the case to the police.
The Grade 3 pupil of Panorama Primary underwent medical circumcision without his mother's consent and was not in line with the Xhosa tradition.
"I did not approve the procedure," said the aunt and the guardian of the child.
She said the boy had brought a permission form, but she did not sign it because the mother did not approve of it.
"I knew of the incident when it was [health programme] recruiters knocked at my door. They told me that the child was circumcised by mistake. I was confused because I did not submit the consent form to the school. They apologized for the incident, but I did not understand it, "the guard said.
The Ministry of Health promotes medical circumcision for men. It is a safe procedure.
Three large clinical studies and many other studies have shown that heterosexual men who have been circumcised have a much lower risk of getting HIV. According to guidelines from the Ministry of Health, children under the age of 18 must have permission from their parents or guardian. If the child is older than 16, he must also agree with the process. The problems in this case were that the child was very young and that the guardian did not agree.
"Circumcision is a sensitive and valued culture for the Xhosa nation," said the guardian. "This procedure has ruined the child's masculinity … Medical circumcision is not an option unless the parents decide to do it … What they have done can not be undone."
Colonel Thembeka Mbhele of the KwaZulu-Natal police confirmed that a case of unlawful circumcision was being opened at the Mountain Rise police station.
According to Miriam Mhazo, the land medicine director of Family Health, the organization was aware of the incident and sincerely regretted what had happened. Mhazo said the doctor and the specific team concerned were suspended "while we continue investigating".
"We are working with the Department of Health of the UMgungundlovu District … to resolve this issue and to ensure that it does not happen again." The District Department of Health works directly with the guardian and we wait for an appointment with the parents, "Mhazo said.
Ncumisa Mafunda Ministry of Health spokesman said that although preliminary evidence showed that none of the people involved in the case were in the service of the department, but by an NGO, the department nevertheless opened an investigation into the case.
Spokesman for the Ministry of Education Kwazi Mthethwa said that the department has not received a formal complaint.
"We respect the culture of ours [pupils] and [teachers]. In a democratic country everyone has the right to belong. However, we can not base our decision on a media report. We should receive information from both parties. We are currently not in a position to judge. "