'You can punish your children, you just don't need to hit them'

The ConCourt is due to hear an appeal against a judgment by the High Court in Johannesburg effectively declaring all forms of physical correction of children by their parents unlawful.

EWN reporter Thando Kubheka says the ConCourt will not rule on the matter on Thursday.

READ: 'Children in SA experience high levels of violence'

She says on Thursday the ConCourt will be hearing the appeal which has been brought by Freedom of Religion of South Africa, The Department of Justice and Social Development, which are amongst those opposing this appeal.

This will give parents rights to use physical correction to discipline their children.

The court is currently hearing arguments from those for and against the issue.

Carol Bouwer, the director at Peace Centre, who are against spanking, and one of the groups that brought the matter to court, also weighed in on the conversation and says they want a prohibition of corporal punishment.

However, they are at the ConCourt today to argue the matter of whether reasonable chastisement by parents who do hit their children, is constitutional or not.

The High Court is of the view that it is not unconstitutional and that decision was appealed by Freedom of Religion South Africa, which is a fairly rightwing evangelical Christian grouping who claim that God says you must hit your children - but they are not doing that this time.

Carol Bouwer, Director at Peace Centre

What they are saying right now is that the High Court stepped out of its responsibility and its authority by declaring the defence unconstitutional and they are hoping that the ConCourt will agree with them, but we are hoping that they will agree with us.

Carol Bouwer, Director at Peace Centre

She adds that conservative groups generally argue in all kinds ways against the extension of the protection of human rights.

It was a Christian group of schools who, for example, took the Department of Education to the ConCourt in 2000 about the prohibition of corporal punishment in schools.

Carol Bouwer, Director at Peace Centre

She says there is a conservative element in our society and it is often linked to evangelical Christians who cherry pick their way through the Bible on issues related to children, women and homosexuals.

She adds that the Christian group is also arguing that corporal punishment and reasonable chastisement are two different things.

And we are saying they are not, they are the same thing.

Carol Bouwer, Director at Peace Centre

Bouwer says they are not trying to take away the punishment of children from parents.

We are saying you can punish your children, you just don't need to hit them.

Carol Bouwer, Director at Peace Centre

Listen below to the full interview:


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