Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said while many parents meant well, any form of violence, including reasonable and moderate chastisement, had always constituted a criminal act known as assault. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA) Archives.

CAPE TOWN - 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.

In case you missed it, the Constitutional Court upheld a South Gauteng High Court ruling declaring corporal punishment at home unconstitutional. In a unanimous judgment, the ConCourt ruled that the common law defence of reasonable and moderate parental chastisement of children is unconstitutional. The court said it was of the view that there are effective ways to discipline children without the use of corporal punishment.

The case landed in the ConCourt after the high court in 2017 found the defence of reasonable chastisement to be unconstitutional in a matter related to a father who had been found guilty of assaulting his 13-year old son for watching pornography.

The high court found that the defence that allows parents to physically discipline their children violates children’s rights and that the protection of children from all forms of violence is critical in our context of alarmingly high levels of violence against children. 

Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) then sought to have a high court ruling set aside arguing that there was a clear distinction between such chastisement and abuse and parents should be allowed to apply “reasonable” and “moderate” chastisement on their children.