Corporal punishment outlawed

HIGH Court judge Justice David Mangota has once again outlawed corporal punishment against children at schools or at home by teachers, parents and guardians, saying the practice is a contravention of the country’s supreme laws.

BY CHARLES LAITON

The court said corporal punishment is violence against children
The court said corporal punishment is violence against children

Justice Mangota’s ruling followed an application by a Harare parent, Linah Pfungwa, who challenged corporal punishment at schools after her Grade One child was subjected to beatings by her teacher last year.

In her affidavit, through her lawyer, Tendai Biti, Pfungwa said she strongly believed that no one, whether at school, a teacher or parent at home, should inflict corporal punishment on a child.

“I believe that corporal punishment is violence against children and I do not believe that children should be subjected to any form of violence. I further believe that corporal punishment is a physical abuse of children. It amounts to deliberately hurting a child, which causes injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts. In my opinion, there is no excuse for physically abusing a child. It causes a serious and everlasting harm and in some cases death,” she said.

“It is my respectful contention that corporal punishment at school and in the home, amounts to a breach of section 81 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which defines the rights of children … in addition, it is my respectful contention that corporal punishment, breaches the provisions of section 53 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”

After hearing submissions, Justice Mangota granted the order in terms of the draft, adding full reasons of his judgment would follow soon.

The order in terms of the draft reads: “The imposition of corporal punishment and any form of physical punishment to children by any person or persons including teachers, parents or relatives is ultra vires the provision of section 81, 51 and 53 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“That the part of section 69 (2) (c) of the Education Act, permissive of corporal punishment be and is hereby declared unconstitutional. That section 3,4,5,6 and 7 of the Education Disciplinary Regulations 1985 contained in Statutory Instrument 362 of 1998 be and is, hereby, declared ultra vires the Constitution and in breach of provisions of section 81, 51 and 53 of the Constitution.”

In 2015, corporal punishment was ruled unconstitutional after High Court Judge, Justice Ester Muremba, ruled that the practice was in contravention of sections 167(3) and 175(1) of the Constitution.

Justice Muremba was reviewing a lower court sentence on a 15-year-old boy who was sentenced to moderate corporal punishment of three strokes with a rattan cane for raping a 14-year-old girl.

The landmark ruling was, however, provisionally set aside by the Constitutional Court as former Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku cited the need for the court to hear opposing arguments before handing down a judgment.

The matter is still pending.

18 Comments

  1. She should have complained about her own child only and others as she didnt consult other parents. High court must outlaw imprisonment of human beings as this denies them of their basic human rights of freedom. After all imprisoment has to be ineffective as deterrant as more people continue to commit crimes.

  2. She should have complained about her own child only and not others as she didnt consult other parents. High court must outlaw imprisonment of human beings as this denies them of their basic human right of freedom. After all imprisoment has proved to be ineffective as deterrant as more people continue to commit crimes.

  3. verbs 13:24…

    its good that you apply sanctions to your kid. what if she realises she can have pocket money from men? wen we say kids let’s not look at grade zero to grade four. when even the bible written many many years ago declared it fit to at times use the rod to correct kids, let’s be aware of the generation that we are creating. Let’s not cry if we create a generation of bitches and thieves. At times we need to pray before make such decisions else we will be used by the devil to further his territory…

  4. proverbs 13:24…

    its good that you apply sanctions to your kid. what if she realises she can have pocket money from men? wen we say kids let’s not look at grade zero to grade four. when even the bible written many many years ago declared it fit to at times use the rod to correct kids, let’s be aware of the generation that we are creating. Let’s not cry if we create a generation of bitches and thieves. At times we need to pray before we make such decisions else we will be used by the devil to further his territory…

  5. That’s the end of discipline in our schools and home. When the courts and parents openly fight God we are headed for a society like America where children do not respect their parents. All adults here are evidence that corporal punishment works, including the wise judge who presided over this matter. It is a sad development indeed.I give the mother 5 yrs before she begins to realise her folly. Proverbs 13:24 is not a mistake.

  6. Christians believe in what the bible says on corporal punishment. Is it not a breach of other peoples’ freedom of worship and belief to outlaw corporal punishment? More so, is the nation agreed on this law? More robust discourse and consultation is required on this very sensitive issue. It’s not about the wisdom and intelligence of lawyers and law makers here. It’s about the wisdom of a whole nation. Of course, corporal punishment should not be about maiming and killing children.

    1. Dont Be Agents of Devel

      I think all the invoved pple in this matter can be likened to or are agents of satan. This is because the devil wants by all effort to destroy the future of these children and this will be a plus to his kingdom. Guys the Human Rights groups and courts are destroying the next generation as they are agents of satan. So these courts are giving rulings that increase their jobs in future while destroying our children’s future as they create thieves, prostitutes, robbers and burglers. Please Human Rights groups you are now a nuisance in the society as some of the things you advocate for are purely satanic or devilish. A child should be bitten if found on the wrong side of statutes but should not be bitten as like a donkey. We need not to destroy the future of our children please. Lets work together-(human Rights groups, parents, children and courts) to build the good destiny of our own children unless we adopted or bought these children.

  7. This devil of a parent and his political low life lawyer and this bribe receiving judge will soon regret this collusion to deprive parents of this God given right to raise morally upright children. Why for instance would a court remand a juvenile into the custody of its parents? Is it then a crime for a parent to use disciplinary force to prevent the kids from violating national laws? Is a paren’t with a recalcitrant child on bail keen on reoffending only supposed to say “lwe Rumbidzai judge vakati chii?” or be forcefully and call the child to order by using parental control measures the cane ncluded.

  8. I hope this child specifically or others of their generation in general will not one day beat up these “understanding” parent, lawyer or judge, or even shoot or rob them. We’ll have the last laugh!!

    For some of us, corporal punishment kept us on the straight and narrow, what’s the alternative, one might asl?

  9. what do you expect from a judge who believes in n’anga and rituals to strengthen power at work. his marriage failed so he wants everyone whom he can have influence on to be like him. Chek this link

  10. he just interpreted the Constitution, whuchi YOU voted for.

  11. i see political play in this,could this be a deliberate provocation of the public,for wat??smeone needs to know how people will react in the case of some election result amid this paralyptic economic situation.well maybe am delusional bt i remember one “ordinary citizen” who petitioned a court to set the election date in 2013 and who now is the spokeperson for the mujuru “opposition party”.and also is a close brother of that prankmaster of the #thisflag now proposing to run for office or “dividing opposition votes”.

  12. Jongwe Rachembera

    Corporal punishment was done away with in Western countries almost 30 years ago and now children run amuck and have no respect for authority and in many schools have become unteachable. The misbehaviour has been transferred into the wider community when these children become young adults. There is debate, in the UK, USA and Australia to bring some forms of corporal punishment back. It is a mistake to outlaw supervised corporal punishment, 20 years down the line we will reap what is sown by these uninformed lawmakers and judges.

  13. VUSO MATANYERA

    The beginning of the end.This has failed elsewhere where children have run amuck….stupid Africans with no sense of self worth just follow every silly policy made elsewhere.Just like ESAP now we are conducting a social experiment that will destroy an already damaged society.When these delinquents end up in jail they will face WORSE violence than the intelligible violence they require to save themselves.This is a very stupid ruling…very disappointed.

  14. In replacement for corporal punishment,other schools have introduced press ups as a way of punishing students. This is happening at St Francis Boarding school where they hired a retired soldier to implement the drills that they were using in Army.He calls these drills German tanker and so forth. School children are now living in fear because of these drills.The name of the boarding master who was hired to implement all this is Nkululeko Ncube from Empandeni at Plumtree.This needs attention as the students are going to fail as they are always in fear of the harsh ex-soldier. Boarding school has turned into Barracks for press ups.
    The school is located in Plumtree at Tshitshi.
    Is this constitutional? If not then may someone help with this

  15. In replacement for corporal punishment,other schools have introduced press ups as a way of punishing students. This is happening at St Francis Boarding school where they hired a retired soldier to implement the drills that they were using in Army.He calls these drills German tanker and so forth. School children are now living in fear because of these drills.The name of the boarding master who was hired to implement all this is Nkululeko Ncube from Empandeni at Plumtree.This needs attention as the students are going to fail as they are always in fear of the harsh ex-soldier. Boarding school has turned into Barracks for press ups.
    The school is located in Plumtree at Tshitshi.
    Is this constitutional? If not then may someone help with this

  16. In short then, is this law official now? Has the Constitutional Court given its final ruling as in the article above it states that the matter is still pending? I know schools have stopped canning students and I also know that it already has had a negative affect on the overall discipline of the child. What is the official stance then going forward?

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