According to a ruling by the Constitutional Court on Wednesday, corporal punishment in the future will be illegal in private households
The majority judges of the Constitutional Court claims that children can still be effectively disciplined without using moderate and reasonable chastisement, there are other means of enforcing discipline.
In November last year, the Constitutional Court heard an application by Freedom to Religion in South Africa (FOR SA) requesting that a 2017 Supreme Court ruling that corporal punishment in private households be set aside.
Daniela Ellerbeck, legal representative for FOR SA, said earlier that the Supreme Court ruling “will make criminals of well-meaning parents who love their children and only want the best for them”.
Ellerbeck said the Supreme Court ruling essentially meant that if a parent just gave their child a light blow to the hind, the parent could be arrested, prosecuted and convicted.
“In addition to the parent having a life-long criminal record for abusing his own children, the children will be removed from the home for a vain, harmless blow. One can only imagine what harm it will do to families in South Africa, ”she explained.
According to Ellerbeck, FOR SA is strongly opposed to any form of violence against children, but a clear distinction must be drawn between violence and abuse, and mild, harmless corporal punishment. “For millions of South Africans who believe that the sacred text allows corporal punishment – if not even prescribing – physical chastisement of their children, where necessary, is in the best interests of their children.”