The Constitutional Court confirmed that spanking children was unconstitutional. Picture: Cape Times
Cape Town - Spanking your child for whatever reason is from now on a criminal offence.

In a unanimous judgment drafted by Chief Justice Mogoeng, the Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that physically correcting your child, no matter how well-intentioned, is unconstitutional, upholding an earlier decision of the high court to do away with the common law defence of “reasonable and moderate chastisement.”

The judgment came after Freedom of Religion SA took the high court judgment on appeal.

A joint press release by respondents and amici curiae in the case said: “The court’s approach to parents’ entitlement to chastise their child was guided by the best interests of the child in respect of protection from potential abuse.”

The court acknowledged the intergenerational cycle of violence: “We have a painful and shameful history of widespread and institutionalised violence. Violence against women and children are inextricably linked. They occur in the same households and share the same drivers.”

Attorney Daniela Ellerbeck said she had not yet studied the full judgment, but added: “It is disturbing that the right of parents to raise their children according to their own convictions has not been upheld.”

The African Christian Democratic Party said it was extremely disappointed by the ruling.

“We believe that God did not make a mistake when he instituted this form of correction for parents,” said ACDP MP Wayne Thring in a statement.

Reactions on social media to the The Constitutional Court ruling on corporal punishment at home on has been "spanking" brilliant.

South Africans have taken to Twitter to voice their thoughts on the ConCourt's ruling that corporal punishment at home is unconstitutional.


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Cape Argus