Making criminals of responsible parents

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 and that the department
intended submitting laws in the 2014/15 financial year that
would govern corporal punishment by parents.

But the ACDP’s Reverend Kenneth Meshoe called the
legislation short-sighted and irresponsible.

“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

‘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

“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

Waters also told 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.


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