Home News CCL challenges SACE decision on corporal punishment as ‘unconstitutional’

CCL challenges SACE decision on corporal punishment as ‘unconstitutional’

by Zahid Jadwat

Corporal punishment persists in classrooms, despite being illegal. [Picture: Shutterstock]


The Centre for Child Law (CCL) has knocked on the door of the Supreme Court of Appeal in an attempt to set aside lenient sanctions against two teachers. The case involves corporal punishment in two separate instances.

In 2015, a seven-year-old boy landed in hospital after his teacher hit his head with a PVC pipe. In the second instance, in 2019, a 10-year-old girl was slapped and beaten by her teacher, causing her ears to bleed.

CCL’s case is that the teachers ought to have been rehabilitated before being let off the hook.

“Corporal punishment in schools remains prevalent. The gist of the appeal was that the South African Council for Educators must actually take transparent and effective measures to uproot corporal punishment in public schools,” said attorney Stanley Malematja in an interview on Salaamedia.


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Corporal punishment

Represented by Section27, the centre is asking the court to order new hearings. It said the proceedings by the South African Council for Educators (SACE)  lacked a “child-centred approach” and denied the children and their respective parents a hearing.

Malematja said sending the teachers back to the classroom without a proper rehabilitation process would ensure the possibility of the incidents being repeated in future.

“What would happen is a child would be assaulted by the teacher, a sanction will be imposed and that sanction is ineffective because it allows the same teacher to be in the same environment and to teach the same children, without taking into account the views of the children and whether that teacher is actually fit to be in the presence of the children due to their violent behaviour,” he said.

By law, corporal punishment is not allowed in South Africa. However, since being outlawed in 1997, it has persisted in the schooling system as a method of disciplining learners.

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