Govt's bid to ban smacking draws fire

2012-08-28 09:30

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Cape Town - Legislation that would make it a crime for parents to hit their children is again on the table and has drawn fire from political parties and civic organisations.

After causing a national outcry when put on the table in 2007, the issue is now back as part of amendments to the Children’s Act, reported Die Burger.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said last week the amendments were coming.

She said the department intended to submit laws in the 2014/15 financial year that would govern corporal punishment by parents.

But the ACDP’s Reverend Kenneth Meshoe said it was short-sighted and irresponsible to deny parents the right to punish their children.

“Today we sit with 7-year-old boys who rape girls. The government with its uninformed policy directions is busy wiping out a whole generation of kids.

“It confuses discipline with abuse and will make criminals of parents.”

Existing laws can’t be enforced

Meanwhile, Patric Solomons, director of the children’s protection organisation Molo Songololo, said although the new proposals are to be welcomed, it would be difficult to enforce.

“If we cannot even enforce existing laws in schools, how can we enforce it in people’s homes?”

Democratic Alliance MP Mike Waters said it was parents’ prerogative to decide how to discipline their children. He said the government should not become involved before there was abuse.

Waters also cautioned the minister to rather focus on enforcing existing parts of the Children’s Act, like the register for the protection of children and appointing more social workers to apply the law.

“Apply the existing Children’s Act properly, rather than giving the Act even wider scope,” he said.


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