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ConCourt says corporal punishment unlawful at home

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who presided over the case, said that the defence of reasonable chastisement was inconsistent with the Constitution.

FILE: The Constitutional Court. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court has ruled that corporal punishment cannot be used in private homes.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who presided over the case, said that the defence of reasonable chastisement was inconsistent with the Constitution.

“We can conclude that the common law defence with, among others, the provisions of Sections 10 and 12 of the Constitution and is therefore invalid," he said.

The case was brought last year by Freedom of religion South Africa against a High Court ruling which effectively declared all forms of corporal punishment by parents on their children unlawful.

The court had found a father guilty of assault after he beat his 13-year-old son in what it said was a manner that exceeded the bounds of reasonable chastisement.

Freedom of Religion South Africa argued that parents should be given the right to discipline their children without the interference of the state.