ConCourt says there are other ways to discipline children besides spanking

The apex court ruled that it is unconstitutional for parents to use corporal punishment to reprimand children.

Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court said there were other ways to discipline children and ruled that spanking, even in their home, was breaking the law.

The apex court ruled on Wednesday that it is unconstitutional for parents to use corporal punishment to reprimand children.

The ruling comes after organisation Freedom of Religion South Africa approached the court to rule on whether moderate and reasonable chastisement, which includes spanking, is constitutional.

It all started with a father who was convicted of common assault in a magistrates court for beating his wife and 13-year-old son.

He appealed the matter in the High Court, citing his right to use moderate and reasonable chastisement; the High Court said that argument was unconstitutional.

But Freedom of Religion South Africa approached the Apex Court to have this ruling overturned and Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng upheld the High Court ruling.

“Freedom of Religion South Africa is granted leave to intervene. Their appeal is dismissed.”

The chief justice insisted there were other ways to instil discipline.

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

The Constitutional Court’s decision nullifies the argument that parents should be given the right to discipline their children without the interference of the State.