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Lingering questions on whether spanking bill will be scrapped for good

By Sibongile Mashaba Time of article published Mar 7, 2019

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The Social Development Department has removed parental corporal punishment from the latest draft of the Children’s Third Amendment Bill.

This has left questions on whether the bill will be scrapped for good or whether the department still feels strongly about the issue of criminalising the spanking of children.

The bill came after a high court judge found that a Joburg father had acted unconstitutionally when he spanked his son.

In the October 2017 judgment, delivered by Raylene Keightley, she ruled that spanking children was unconstitutional, which then paved the way for the development of a law to criminalise parental corporal punishment.

Department spokesperson Lumka Oliphant would only say that the matter was up for appeal in the Constitutional Court, and the department therefore could not comment on it.

Oliphant would not even say whether the proposed law had been removed from the draft temporarily because of the pending court case.

The Christian View Network moved quickly to thank the department for “scrapping plans to ban parental spanking in the latest draft”.

The network’s spokesperson, Philip Rosenthal, said: “The latest draft of the bill, unlike previous versions which would have criminalised parents spanking children, makes no mention of ‘chastisement’ or ‘discipline’. It was previously proposed to be included in section 12.”

He said in the appeal case the Christian View Network was opposed to the criminalising of spanking children.

“We argue that Judge Keightley grossly abused her power, opportunistically trying to use a case of physical abuse to ban reasonable parental physical discipline - and should be removed from the judiciary. We look forward to the Concourt overturning of this act of judicial tyranny,” Rosenthal commented.

The matter has been reserved for judgment. 


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