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South Africa has Ruled that Spanking Children is Now Unconstitutional

The judgement was unanimous.

Back in 2017, the South African High Court ruled that it was illegal for parents or guardians to spank their children i.e. use corporal punishment in the home setting. The ruling arose after a father allegedly beat his 13-year-old son "in a manner that exceeded the bounds of reasonable chastisement". Today, the Constitutional Court has upheld the High Court's 2017 ruling and declared that the spanking of children is a violation of the constitution.


Groups such as the Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) have, in the past, fought to have the High Court's ruling set aside citing that there is a "clear distinction between such chastisement and abuse and parents should be allowed to apply "reasonable" and "moderate" chastisement on their children."

READ: Spanking is now legally assault in South Africa—it's about time.

The Constitutional Court's ruling, which was drafted by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, has come during a time where gender-based violence and violence towards children has experienced an alarming surge in the past weeks. What the ruling itself means is that parents or guardians who are accused of assault after spanking their children, can no longer invoke the common law defense of reasonable chastisement. The ruling further paves the way for the development of actual laws criminalizing the act of spanking.

Children's rights activists and groups as well as organisations such as the University of Pretoria's Center for Child Law have welcomed the ruling.

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Mozambique's Political Unrest: Where Things Stand

Fears continue to be on the rise as more attacks by militants are anticipated in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province.

On March 24th, militants stormed Palma—a gas-rich city in Mozambique—as part of an ongoing insurgency in the country dating back to 2017. Dozens of civilians have been killed although an official death toll has not been declared as of yet. Currently, at least 8000 more have been left displaced, fleeing to other parts of the country and attempting to seek asylum in Tanzania. This is believed to be the worst attacks carried out by the Islamist militant group, Al-Shabaab, to date.
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