Committee on the Rights of the Child: South Africa

Session 073 (2016)

(27 October 2016, CRC/C/ZAF/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 35 and 36)

“The Committee welcomes the prohibition of corporal punishment of children in detention and in alternative care settings under the Children’s Act, of 2005. However, it is concerned that corporal punishment in the home has not been prohibited and is widely practised, and that corporal punishment in schools persists in practice despite the legal prohibition. The Committee is also concerned about the lack of data on incidents of corporal punishment in childcare facilities.

“With reference to its general comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment, the Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Expedite the adoption of legislation to prohibit all forms of corporal punishment in the home, including “reasonable chastisement”;

(b) Develop, adopt and implement a national strategy to prevent and eradicate all forms of corporal punishment;

(c) Strengthen its efforts to raise the awareness and build the capacity of families, of communities and of professionals working for and with children, including teachers and caregivers, on positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline;

(d) Regularly and systematically collect data on corporal punishment in all settings, including in the home, in schools and in childcare facilities, and use such data as a basis for effective prevention and eradication of corporal punishment;

(e) Promote regular consultations between students and teachers on how to deal with disciplinary issues in a human rights-sensitive manner;

(f) Ensure that those who perpetrate corporal punishment are held accountable.”

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Session 023 (2000)

(23 February 2000, CRC/C/15/Add.122, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 3, 8 and 28)

"The Committee expresses appreciation for the efforts made by the State party in the area of legal reform…. [T]he Committee notes with appreciation the additional legislation enacted to bring about greater harmonization between domestic legislation and the Convention, including … the Abolition of Corporal Punishment Act (1997)….

"The Committee appreciates the State party’s initiatives within the school environment. In this regard, it welcomes the enactment of the South African Schools Act (1996) which has led to enhanced participatory rights for children within the educational system; the right of children to choose their own language of learning (multilingualism); and the abolition of corporal punishment in schools….

"While the Committee is aware that corporal punishment is prohibited by law in schools, care institutions and the juvenile justice system, it remains concerned that corporal punishment is still permissible within families and that it is still regularly used in some schools and care institutions as well as generally within society. The Committee recommends that the State party take effective measures to prohibit by law corporal punishment in care institutions. The Committee further recommends that the State party reinforce measures to raise awareness on the negative effects of corporal punishment and change cultural attitudes to ensure that discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s dignity and in conformity with the Convention. It is also recommended that the State party take effective measures to prohibit by law the use of corporal punishment in the family and, in this context, examine the experience of other countries that have already enacted similar legislation."

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