The Constitutional Court in South Africa on Wednesday ruled that corporal punishment at home violates children’s rights, sparking debate on African parenting online.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who presided over the case, declared that ‘reasonable chastisement’ of children was inconsistent with the Constitution.
The court added that there are other ways of effectively disciplining a child, without resorting to corporal punishment.
“There is, therefore, a less restrictive means envisaged by Section 36 of the Constitution available to achieve discipline.”
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, court found that the father had exceeded the bounds of reasonable chastisement.
The father, who was punishing his son for watching pornography, had argued that he had a right to chastise his son, in accordance with his religious beliefs.
The Freedom of Religion South Africa, a pressure group, that challenged the High Court ruling, criticised Wednesday’s ruling.
The group argued that the state should not interfere with parents who are mandated by the Bible to physically correct their children.