Andrew Aitchison/Getty Images
South Africans are Reacting to the Constitutional Court's Ruling on Spanking
Not everyone is happy that spanking is now unconstitutional.
Yesterday, South Africa's Constitutional Court ruled that the spanking of children is now unconstitutional. The ruling upheld a previous ruling by the High Court back in 2017, that criminalized spanking after a father beat his 13-year-old son "in a manner that exceeded the bounds of reasonable chastisement". Parents or guardians can no longer use the common law defense of "reasonable chastisement" should they be charged with assault for spanking their children. While many South Africans as well as children's rights activists and organizations have welcomed the ruling, others have rubbished it entirely.
Some South Africans feel that spanking and any form of corporal punishment in the home setting is unnecessary and that other alternatives should be employed. They've also condemned those who've quipped that they were spanked when they were growing up but "turned out just fine", and added that spanking has possibly contributed to the culture of violence in South Africa, especially violence towards women and children.
Other South Africans feel hard done by the ruling citing that the government has no right to impose their "ideals" on how parents choose to discipline their own children. Many have also referenced religious texts which encourage the spanking of children as a way to instill values and respect for others. Some have even gone as far as saying that the ruling imposes Western ideals on the "African" and "traditional " ways of disciplining children.
While South Africans appear divided as a result of the ruling, what remains is that the ruling has now paved the way for the development of legal frameworks and laws governing the act of spanking.