The Constitutional Court has ruled that spanking your child at home is illegal, upholding a 2017 high court ruling that found that physically disciplining children violates their rights.

The appeal was brought to the apex court by the Freedom of Religion South Africa (FRSA), which wanted the court to re-institute reasonable moderate chastisement, while children’s rights groups and the Minister of Social Development argued for the banning of spanking which they said was actual corporal punishment.

Delivering the judgement on Wednesday, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said spanking children was against the constitution’s sections 10 and 12.


“The decison of high court is upheld. Freedom of Religion SA appeal is dismissed.  It is declared that common law defense of reasonable and modern parental chastisement is inconsistent with the provisions of Sections 10 and 12 1c of the Constitution.”

There was no cost order in the judgement.

South Africa banned corporal punishment in schools in 1996.


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