In Christian Education South Africa v Minister of Education, the Constitutional Court upheld the law that prohibited the use of corporal punishment in schools. The decision was primarily premised on protecting children against all forms of violence from a public source. Recently, the same Court in Freedom of Religion South Africa v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and Others has abolished the defence of reasonable chastisement that was available at common law to parents when administering corporal punishment to discipline recalcitrant children. The effect of the decision is that parents no longer have a defence if they are charged with Assault as a result of Corporal Punishment. The decision has far-reaching consequences as; on the one hand, it unfairly curtails parents’ rights of discipline against their children and seeks to dictate to parents on how to discipline their children. On the other hand, the decision places the rights of children as being of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child. The study employs the doctrinal method which is “desktop-based”, and uses primary and secondary sources, such as case law, statutes, articles and books. The findings of this study are that the defence of reasonable chastisement infringes on the rights of children afforded to them by both the Constitutional law and international instrument. Outlawing Corporal Punishment serves as a great step towards fighting the battle of domestic violence. The Constitutional Court Judgment is not the end of it all; parents must be taught of other alternative way to disciples children. It is of crux to note that discipline is the essential part of parenting and it will be detrimental to raise children without discipline.
Mini Dissertation(LLM (Child Law))--University of Pretoria 2020.