South African court says spanking children at home is illegal and parents are furious

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South Africans have expressed outrage about the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Wednesday which held that corporal punishment at home violates children’s rights.

Presiding over the case, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng declared that ‘reasonable chastisement’ of children was inconsistent with the constitution, adding that other ways exist for parents to instil discipline in their wards.

“There is, therefore, a less restrictive means envisaged by Section 36 of the Constitution available to achieve discipline.”

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Some parents have welcomed the Children’s Amendment Bill, however, organizations, including the Freedom of Religion (FOR SA) were appalled by the amendment which took two years to be worked on.

South Africa school children via africanews.com

They noted: “You can be arrested and prosecuted for assault and if convicted, will have a life-long criminal record for abuse of your own children. Not just that, but for a trivial non-injurious slap or ‘reasonable chastisement’, your children can be removed from the family home.”

“Any person caring for a child, including a person who has parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child, must not treat or punish the child in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.”

Section 12A (1) notes:

“Any punishment, within the home or other environment, in which physical force or action is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or harm to the child is unlawful.”

The ruling upholds an earlier High Court ruling in which a father was found guilty of assaulting his 13-year-old son. In that ruling court, the court found that the father had exceeded the bounds of reasonable chastisement.

The father had noted that he punished his son for watching pornography as his act went against his religious beliefs.

Since the ruling, various people, including parents, have shared their thoughts compiled below: