The Constitutional Court has ruled that corporal punishment at home will stay illegal. This means that parents who spank their kids could face jail time.
This ruling was met with mixed reactions with the louder voices being parents who want to have the “right” to hit their children.
FAMSA counsellor Wilma Calvert says this law will make life a bit tricky for parents as it sounds like kids can’t be disciplined.
“No one is showing parents an alternative to rearing their kids. Parents are going to have to find ways to discipline their children,” Wilma says.
Wilma advises one other way parents can discipline their kids is by taking away their privileges. However, she is the first to point out that this might be difficult for parents in poverty-stricken families because there are so little privileges.
Dr Chandre Gould from the Institute of Security Studies, however, explains why spanking children can have negative effects on their well-being.
“All forms of violence, including smacking or spanking can make children depressed, angry and anxious. It’s not just severe abuse and beating that leads to negative consequences,” she said.
Dr Chandre says there ought to be programs that give parents the tools they need to discipline kids without hitting or spanking.
This ruling has South Africans on different sides of the debate. This is what some social users had to say.
“Spanking doesn't work. It's not an effective method of punishment. We're still debriefing and unpacking all the damage it's done to our psyches and our relationships with our parents were never the same.”
"Wait! Spanking a child is now 'Unconstitutional'? I'm gonna make a sign at my gate stating, 'You are now leaving the Republic of South Africa'."
"Law or no law spanking a child will still continue. We were raised by parents that told us 'ama rights akho aphela pha eGatin' and y'all [sic] think a law will stop that from continuing? Unless y'all plan to have an officer in every house that has a child."
"To the people saying there's a difference between spanking and abusing, how do you measure which 'beating' is enough? #SpankAChildOrNot"
"Start building prisons and houses for kids, and find people who will take care of them without spanking them because 95% of South Africans won't just sit and watch kids being disrespectful. 95% of SA will be in prison #ConCourtRuling"