The Eastern Cape Health department sent an ambulance to the initiation school after reports of a fire. (SABC)
Three initiates who were burnt at an initiation school in Matatiele in the Eastern Cape have been taken to hospital. They were burnt after their makeshift hut caught fire.
Health Department spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo, says an ambulance was dispatched after reports of a fire at the initiation school.
However, earlier reports indicated that when the ambulance arrived at the school, the initiates' handler refused to release them into the care of the medics.
The CEO of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders, Zingisa Bokwe, says they were then asked to intervene.
"Those boys were [initially] seen by the district medical officers for the Department of Health and there was nothing [there] that … needed them to go to hospital at the time. But Nkosi Magadla indicated that he was going to go and formally see the boys ... We are comfortable with the report that we got," explains Bokwe.
Meanwhile, a 21-year-old traditional nurse has been arrested for allegedly beating up initiates in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape.
Seven initiates have been taken to the St Elizabeth hospital in Lusikisiki after they were allegedly beaten with an iron rod.
Police report that 30 people have died so far in the Eastern Cape after botched circumcisions.
The deaths have sparked a premature closure of Eastern Cape summer circumcision season. They are expected to be closed mid-January due to the continuous mushrooming of illegal initiation schools.
The Eastern Pondoland area of the Eastern Cape is notorious for its bogus circumcision schools. In the past 10 years, about 1 000 boys have died in the province and many others have lost their private parts.