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By Citizen Reporter


For SA challenges High Court ‘no-spanking’ rule

A civil society group is challenging the high court's 2017 ruling to outlaw spanking in homes.

To spank children or not to spank them, that is the ruling to be decided by the Constitutional Court which will hear an appeal to a high court ruling which made it illegal for parents to spank their children at home.

The landmark ruling is being appealed by civil society group Freedom of Religion South Africa (For SA) which believed the judgment would make criminals of well-meaning parents.

The ruling, according to For SA, would have parents prosecuted for assault if convicted. Parents could have a criminal record for abuse, or the children removed from the family home if the court found them guilty.

The society believes there remains a clear distinction between violence, abuse, and mild physical correction.

For SA wants the Constitutional Court to find the high court wrong in abolishing parents’ defence of reasonable and moderate chastisement, and ultimately set aside the judgment.

Children’s rights group, The Children’s Institute, lauded the ruling and said it was a clear victory for children’s rights and the end to the neglect of children’s rights.

Dr Stefanie Röhrs from the institute, speaking on Cape Talk, once said there are other tools parents could use to discipline their children. She mentioned a “time out” and the taking away of privileges as some options parents could resort to aside from spanking children.

Röhrs said it was important to understand that a child was going through the development phase, meaning they were still unclear on the rights and wrongs of their actions.

She reiterated that people would never smack their grandmothers out of love as that would clearly be seen as wrong.

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