Corporal Punishment in the Home Officially Banned in South Africa

The South African Constitutional Court has announced that corporal punishment in the home is henceforth banned.

Many countries already have such bans, in every setting, in place, including Sweden, Germany, Spain, Greece, and Venezuela.

Corporal punishment as part of the judicial system has been banned since the Abolition of Corporal Punishment Act came into effect in 1997. The same has been banned in schools since the South African Schools Act of 1996 (although a 2018 StatsSA survey showed that many children still endure it at schools, despite it being outlawed). However, up to yesterday, corporal punishment in the home (such as parents spanking their children as a form of discipline) was allowed.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng delivered the ruling, upholding a 2017 high court ruling which made it illegal for parents to spank their children at home. This served as a dismissal of an appeal to the ruling, which was made by civil society group Freedom of Religion South Africa (For SA).

The ruling against corporal punishment in the home was unanimous.

What the ruling means

The previous defense of “reasonable chastisement” is now invalid, in cases where children take their parents to court over physical punishment. Such punishment is now viewed as abuse, and South African children may, as they wish, take their family members to court, and have confidence that the court should rule in their favor.

This means that parents who insist on continuing to use corporal punishment against their children can gain a criminal record for doing so.

What is physical punishment?

Physical punishment involves the use of physical force with the intention of causing a child to experience bodily pain or discomfort, in an attempt to correct or punish the child’s behavior. This includes spanking, hitting, pinching, paddling, whipping, slapping, and so on.

What recent studies say

Dr Londeka Ngubane (who was appointed to serve on a transport panel for upcoming developments, by Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande earlier this year), as part of her thesis for a PhD in Criminology, stated that corporal punishment does not achieve what it intends to, and its use has become obsolete in democratic societies. She also stated that the problems that emanate from the persistent use of corporal punishment not only perpetuate the cycle of child abuse, but also impact negatively on academic performance and perpetuate a culture of violence in our vulnerable societies. She said that corporal punishment has adverse physical and emotional effects on children, and that it may actually exacerbate negative behavior for some children, not solve it.

Ngubane found that many children she spoke to as part of her study did not even know they were being victimized. This Constitutional Court ruling will hopefully go a long way to making that known.

The negative impacts of corporal punishment, used anywhere against children, has long been known. Acclaimed American pediatrician Benjamin Spock was the first pediatrician to study psychoanalysis to try to understand children’s needs and family dynamics. His ideas about childcare influenced several generations of parents – from as early as the 1920s – to be more flexible and affectionate with their children, and to treat them as individuals. Spock once stated, “Parents… have come to realize that children can be well behaved, cooperative, and polite without ever having been punished physically”.

Writing for Psychology Today, in 2014, psychiatrist Paul C Holinger says physical punishment of a child stirs up precisely the feelings one does not want. In general, one wants to elicit interest and enjoyment. Physical punishment stirs up distress, anger, fear, and shame. As we get older, these feelings combine with experience to form our more complex emotional life.

Holinger says that physical punishment is a major public health problem, with many adults still approving of it, despite compelling evidence that it does not work, it makes things worse, and there are effective alternatives.

There has been meta-analyses conducted on hundreds of studies on physical punishment. The data in this area have recently been summarized by Elizabeth Gershoff (Report on Physical Punishment in the United States, 2008) and Susan Bitensky (Corporal Punishment of Children, 2006). The evidence shows that physical punishment is stunningly harmful at every developmental level.

Studies show that children who are hit identify with the aggressor and are more likely to become hitters themselves, i.e., bullies and future abusers of their children and spouses. They tend to learn to use violent behavior as a way to deal with disputes.

One is not permitted to hit one’s spouse or a stranger; these actions are considered assault and battery. Why in the world should one be permitted to hit a smaller and even more vulnerable child? If hitting a child is not wrong, then nothing is wrong.

What are some alternatives for unruly children?

Dr Stefanie Röhrs from the institute, speaking on Cape Talk last year, said there were other tools parents could use to discipline their children. She mentioned a “timeout” and the taking away of privileges as some options parents could resort to aside from spanking children.

Röhrs said it was important to understand that a child was going through the development phase, meaning they were still unclear on the rights and wrongs of their actions.

She reiterated that people would never smack their adult relatives out of love, as that would clearly be seen as wrong. Many parents need to rethink their outdated views on how best to discipline their children, and consider the fact that just because it was done to them, does not mean it should be passed on to their children.

  1. Use words to explain your feelings. Use words to label your child’s feelings.
  2. Set a good example.
  3. Use positive reinforcement – boost your child’s self-esteem when they behave correctly.

More information on alternatives to physical punishment can be found in the American Psychoanalytic Association’s 2013 Position Statement on Physical Punishment, which you can view by clicking here.

Comments on the ruling

Children’s rights group The Children’s Institute lauded the ruling and said it was a clear victory for children’s rights and the end to the neglect of children’s rights.

In Parliament on Wednesday, the Social Development Portfolio Committee welcomed the Constitutional Court’s ruling on corporal punishment at home, further stating that this is a victory for South Africa as it is “unconstitutional to chastise children”.

Speaking in the National Assembly, SA President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed the ruling, and said that beatings children received from parents and caregivers had become “a serious problem”.

The President said children need to be protected from violence in the home. “When we talk about violence against children we focus on sexual abuse, but the battering of children is a very serious problem that must also get sufficient attention. This judgment will send a strong message that the beating of children will not be tolerated at all costs,” he said.

In closing

In 1966, Martin Luther King Jr., as part of one of the last major marches of the American civil rights era, addressed a crowd in Yazoo City, Mississippi.

MLK said, “I’m sick and tired of violence… I’m tired of hatred. I’m tired of selfishness. I’m not going to use violence, no matter who says it!”


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Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Naspers Has Officially Listed Europe’s Biggest Consumer Internet Firm on the Euronext Exchange in Amsterdam

South African e-commerce group Naspers is listing its global empire of consumer internet assets under the name of Prosus on Wednesday – and the jewel in the crown is a 31% stake in Chinese tech titan Tencent.

The spin-off in Amsterdam marks the end of an era for Naspers as it looks to move beyond the legacy of former Chief Executive Koos Bekker’s prescient investment of just $34 million in Tencent when it was a startup in 2001, one of the most lucrative bets in corporate history.

The stake in Tencent, the world’s biggest video game company and home to the hugely popular WeChat social media platform, is now worth $130 billion and has buttressed Naspers’ rapid growth towards becoming Africa’s most valuable listed company.

In a statement, the Euronext stock exchange gave an indicative price of 58.70 euros per share for Prosus, implying a market value of 95.3 billion euros ($105 billion) in one go.

That would make it the third-largest stock on the Amsterdam exchange after Shell and Unilever, and Europe’s No.2 tech firm after Germany’s SAP.

European players are still, however, dwarfed by the likes of Facebook and Amazon in the United States.

The indicative price is based on Naspers’ closing price in Johannesburg, with trading in Prosus set to start on Wednesday morning in Amsterdam.

The Tencent stake has been worth more than Naspers itself for years, and dominated the $103 billion group’s finances. One motivation for spinning off Prosus is to narrow that value gap.

One reason for the discount is Naspers’ heavy weighting on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

The stock currently represents around a quarter of the value of the shareholder-weighted top 40 index, which makes it difficult for index investors attempting to limit their exposure to a single share.

The Prosus listing should see about a quarter of Naspers’ value move to Amsterdam.

“We believe Prosus will present a new and attractive opportunity for global tech investors to access our unique portfolio of internet businesses, providing a strong foundation for our future growth plans,” said CEO Bob van Dijk.

“The listing is also designed to reduce our weighting on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, which we believe will maximize shareholder value over time.”

Naspers will retain a stake of about 25% in Prosus, with the other 25% distributed to Naspers shareholders and making up the free float.

Interior of Euronext Amsterdam.

Food delivery firms

Prosus also has stakes in fast-growing food delivery, social media, and payments companies in China, India, Brazil and Russia. See Factbox:

In the food and delivery sector, it owns stakes in Delivery Hero,, Latin America’s iFood, and India’s Swiggy.

For the fiscal year ended in March 2019, Prosus posted a 15% rise in revenue to $2.65 billion, and its operating loss narrowed to $418 million from $615 million.

Prosus accounts for its Tencent stake as an “equity accounted investment”, which added $3.41 billion euros to 2019 pre-tax profit.

Prosus’ net profit ended up being $4.25 billion, thanks to a $1.6 billion windfall on its sale of a 10% stake in Flipkart to Walmart.

Jasper Jansen, an analyst at the Dutch shareholders rights group VEB, said he applauded the arrival of Prosus.

“We love the fresh blood – finally there’s a real company listing here that’s active in the new economy,” he said.

However, he criticized Naspers’ decision to maintain a two-class share structure system which gives its biggest shareholders extra voting rights in some circumstances.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Pravin Char and Jan Harvey.


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Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Zandcee [1], [2].

Cape Town Marathon and Other Runs to Take Place on 14 and 15 September

On Sunday, 15 September, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon will take place in the Mother City, with more than 26 000 local and international runners taking part in an event that’s fast becoming known as Africa’s “must-run” city marathon.

Olympic long-distance runner Elana van Zyl-Meyer, ambassador for the marathon, knows from personal experience what goes into preparation for an undertaking of this kind, and how important spectators are on the big day. “A marathon is a long personal journey. For some of us it takes sheer will and guts, while for others it’s a relative breeze. But either way, there’s nothing more energising and comforting than when you see a group of supporters cheer you on from the sidelines – it’s pure joy.”

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is Africa’s only IAAF Gold Label-status city marathon, meaning that the International Association of Athletics Federations designates it as one of the leading road races in the world. This year the organisers are pulling out all the stops to make sidelines magic, which is not only a prerequisite for the event to better its IAAF classification to Platinum, but also a reason for locals to come out and cheer on the athletes in Cape Town’s stunning springtime weather. Spectator zones have been set up along the 42.2km marathon route, giving supporters frontline views of the course action as well as an opportunity to enjoy live music and dance, and suppo. Some of the zones are co-hosted by local charities involved with this year’s event.

The zones can be found at Sea Point Swimming Pool (4km mark); City Hall and the Grand Parade (13.8km); Victoria Road in Woodstock (16.5km); Pick n Pay Centre in Main Road, Observatory (18.7km); Rondebosch Main Road (20.8km); at the entrance to Groote Schuur on Newlands Main Road (21.1km); Newlands swimming pool arena (22.4km); opposite Newlands Cricket Grounds (23.4km); Campground Road/Sandown Road (25.7km); Rondebosch Common at Park Road (28.5km); Rondebosch Common opposite the Red Cross Children’s Hospital (29.7km); Rondebosch Common near Rustenburg Girls’ High School (30.8km); Liesbeek Parkway at Durban Road (32.6km); Liesbeek Parkway opposite Hartleyvale Stadium (33.7km); Salt River Circle and the Biscuit Mill (36km); the Good Hope Centre on Strand Street (38.7km); the Prestwich Museum area on Bree Street (40km); the Fan Walk on Somerset Road (41km); and Vlei Road in Green Point (finish).

“Typically of big-city marathons around the world, some supporters get dressed up in crazy outfits to spur on family members or friends who’re running. Catching attention is the aim, and it works!” says Van Zyl-Meyer.

This year Sanlam has upped the prize values of its highly popular Gees Competition, which debuted at last year’s event. With a chance to win a share of R250 000, individual supporters, club members and charities are challenged to take part by dressing up, downloading an official fan bib from the marathon page on Sanlam’s website and wearing it as a bib on race day, then taking a selfie and sharing it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #SCTMgees and tagging @ctmarathon. Winners are chosen at the end of the marathon weekend, with clubs and charities in line for cash prizes ranging from R5 000 to R50 000, and 20 spot prizes of R2 000 each for individuals.

The marathon is fast becoming a platform to bring attention to various social issues affecting communities in and around Cape Town. This year, over 50 charities will be represented and involved in the event, with many runners dressed in outfits appropriate for shining a light on a cause and charity about which they’re deeply passionate. For example, the five-runner sausage-dog suit will once again be featured for the Cape of Good Hope SPCA; sports academy Endurocad will feature runners dressed as comic-book superheroes; and participants with sapling trees strapped to their backs will be bringing attention to the Township Farmers’ #runninggreen campaign.

“Cumulatively, we hope to raise in excess of R3 million for charities across the Western Cape,” says Van Zyl-Meyer. “We’re a nation of doers and supporters, and I absolutely believe we can do it.”

The event will be televised live on SABC2 from 06h30 and will be live-streamed on the marathon website

There will also be 5km, 12km, and 22km runs taking place on 14 September. To find out more about the marathon and other runs, click here.


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Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

How Many Skilled Professionals Are Leaving South Africa Every Day?

There has been a major increase in skilled professionals leaving the country as South Africa faces continued uncertainty.

Speaking to eNCA, Sable International’s Andrew Rissik said that people are leaving for many reasons – with two of the biggest reasons being economic uncertainty and crime.

“We are looking at around 25,000 skilled people leaving South Africa each year, with around 1,000 – 2,000 of these people also being very wealthy people who are able to buy their way into other countries.

“These are potentially very high-quality taxpayers that South Africa is losing,” said Rissik.

This averages out to around 68 skilled people, and between two and five ultra-wealthy South Africans, leaving the country every day.

“What we see is that a lot of people with young children tend to start getting pulled back to South Africa because of family links.

“Although we have seen this (trend) slow compared to the past decade because of the economic situation in South Africa as we know it – it’s really pretty negative at the moment.”

Rissik added that as long as these ‘push factors’ are present, people will continue to leave.

Popular destinations

The Department of Home Affairs does not keep record of South Africans who emigrate permanently; however, receiver countries do keep track of immigrants, which gives an indication of how many people are actually leaving.

This data shows that the UK is still the most popular choice for South African immigrants, while a growing number are also choosing to settle in Australia and New Zealand.

  1. New Zealand: The latest data from Stats NZ shows that there has been a sharp rise in South African migrants, with 8,200 people moving to the country between April 2018 and April 2019;
  2. Australia: The latest immigration data from Australia shows that a total of 5,397 South Africans moved in 2016/17 time period and 2,907 South Africans over the 2017/2018 period;
  3. UK: At the beginning of January, statistics provided to City Press by UK’s Office for National Statistics showed that approximately 7,300 people emigrated from South Africa to the UK in 2017

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Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Ross Parmly [1], [2].

SA Students Vie for R15m Business Start-up Prize

A group of SA students is hoping to bag a R15m capital injection from the UK where they are participating in the Hult Prize Accelerator programme.

The four students – Nobuhle Ndebele, 24, Lindokuhle Nene, 25, Reitumetse Nkhahle, 26, and Gauta Matlou, 29 – all PhD chemistry students at Rhodes University in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) – are on a quest to win a $1m (R14.7m) cash prize to fund their start-up company.

They will spend eight weeks in the UK preparing for the final pitch competition where the best business idea will win.

The Hult Prize challenges innovative university and college students from across the world to a social entrepreneurship start-up that will create 10,000-plus meaningful jobs in the next decade.

The four, known as Team E-Smart, won the regional Hult Prize at Brookhouse International School in Nairobi, Kenya, with their business model to develop an idea to provide meaningful work for young people within the next decade.

Rhodes University chemistry PhD students Gauta Matlou, Nobuhle Ndebele, Reitumetse Nkhahle, and Lindokuhle Nene.

Their idea is to create job opportunities for the youth through the collection of electronics and electrical waste materials for further recycling, repairing or re-purposing into new market products.

Speaking on behalf of Team E-Smart, Matlou said they had been introduced to influential people.

“We are excited that we have made it this far in the programme. The real work has just started and we have already been assigned with our own mentor Ryan Reigg.

“At the moment our challenge is achieving or sealing business partnerships into our business. We need to get partners who will be willing to buy our products in the future.

“That will show the judges that we will be able to run and m aintain this business should we get the prize,” he said.

“There are currently 39 teams from across the world. Ours now is to fight for the top- six position by improving our business model and demonstrate to the judges how we will create 10,000 meaningful jobs for the disconnected youth in our E-waste business. We need to impress the mentors, experts and judges.”

According to Team E-Smart, SA produces about 316,000 tons of electronic waste and only 12% is collected and recycled, which is then exported to other countries.


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Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].