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.”