The Constitutional Court has made a ruling that the use of moderate and reasonable chastisement, which included spanking was inconsistent with the constitution.
The ConCourt says it is now illegal for a parent to spank their child.
The Children’s Institute said the Social Development Department need to drive a national campaign to raise awareness around the use of corporal punishment in homes.
The institute at the University of Cape Town said it was pleased that the court acknowledged that reasonable chastisement was neither necessary nor justifiable.
It also said South Africa needed to focus on the implementation of widespread interventions to support families at national level, to change attitudes and behaviours that involved harsh and violent ways to discipline children.
The institute said that the Social Development Department should implement programmes that had been shown to be effective in changing both individual attitudes and social norms around child discipline. This could teach caregivers about alternative, non-violent forms of discipline, the institute said.
It added the ruling was an opportunity for the Children’s Act to be further developed.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.