Education dept must enforce ban on corporal punishment - SAHRC

2017-06-28 18:09
(SAHRC, News24)

(SAHRC, News24)

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Johannesburg - Corporal punishment at schools may be prohibited, but it remains a sad reality in South Africa, according to a report launched by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

The commission launched its first independent Civil and Political Rights Report 2016/2017.

The report, which took six months to complete, was launched on Wednesday morning at the SAHRC's offices in Johannesburg.

In the report, the commission called on the department of basic education to "expedite the establishment of national protocol to enforce the statutory prohibition of corporal punishment in school".

The commission found that even "light corporal punishment" violated the interests of the child, and should be criminalised.

READ: Corporal punishment reflects society - dept

Deaths in police custody

Speaking on the side-lines of the launch, SAHRC head of research Dr Fola Adeleke said: "Any form of corporal punishment violates the children's rights and anyone who practices it should be criminalised."

The report also focuses on other issues, such as deaths in prison and fatalities caused by police officers.

It found that, while the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) had reported a national decrease in the number of deaths in police custody and as a result of police action, Mpumalanga had experienced a 93% increase in the number of deaths in police custody.

The province also had a 75% increase in the number of deaths caused by police action.

The report also touched on the deaths of more than 94 mentally ill patients, who were moved from the Life Healthcare Esidimeni facility to various NGOs.

In August, the commission will host an investigative hearing on issues surrounding challenges faced by mentally ill patients.

In the report, the SAHRC recommended that government should ensure that parties involved in implementing the recommendations of the Health Ombudsman's report be given the necessary resources.

READ: Gauteng health dept breached Life Esidimeni agreement - minister

Life Esidimeni fatalities

On February 1, Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba revealed that at least 94 patients had died after being moved from the Life Esidimeni facilities to 27 non-government organisations in Gauteng in 2016.

It subsequently emerged that more than 100 patients had died. They died of thirst, hunger and cold.

The department had cancelled Life Esidimeni's contract as part of cost-cutting measures. Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu stepped down in the wake of the scandal.

A few weeks later, Makgoba told Parliament's portfolio committee on health that the death toll would continue to rise.

Makgoba said his office was continuing to receive data from the public since his report on the disastrous move was made public.

He found that the 27 NGOs were under-resourced, under-financed and ill-equipped to take on the influx of psychiatric patients.

Read more on:    sahrc  |  johannesburg  |  corporal punishment  |  human rights  |  education  |  healthcare

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