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Child Law in South Africa
Trynie Boezaart

Child Law in South Africa is the updated and greatly expanded successor to Introduction to Child Law in South Africa (2000). In recent years child law has developed into a well-defined field, both in legal practice and in research. Child Law in South Africa, with its eighteen new and seven entirely updated chapters, is intended as a source of first reference for all legal questions pertaining to children.

 

This publication is, amongst others, aimed at addressing some of the burning issues that are frequently dealt with in a multi-disciplinary way. It provides insight into the profound influence of recent legislation – e.g. the Children’s Act 38 of 2005, the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 and the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007 – and comments on ground-breaking case law and the latest research findings in the field.

 

Written by 23 experts in the field, Child Law in South Africa reflects the enormous scope and dynamics involved in child law and is sure to encourage further debate and analysis.

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Commentary on the Children’s Act (Revision Service 2, 2010)
CJ Davel & AM Skelton

Written by the team of experts who were actively involved in drafting and commenting on the Bill, Commentary on the Children’s Act is the first section-by-section guide to the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. Every section of the Act is discussed within the context of the Act and its origin, giving practical guidance on its interpretation and application.

The Commentary is updated  up to Revision Service 2, 2010, with outstanding chapters dealt with in the Children’s Amendment Bill and forthcoming regulations.

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Justice for child victims and witnesses of crime
Edited by the Centre for Child Law

Child victims and witnesses of crime are amongst the most vulnerable people in the justice system. The United Nations issued guidelines for their protection in 2005. This publication sets out the guidelines in the South African context.

Does South African law reflect these guidelines? What are the challenges to be faced in order to bring South African law and practice in line with these international standards? Answers to these questions are provided in this up-to-date analysis of the current state of the law.

This publication is a useful guide for students of law, as well as for practitioners who work with children in the courts. Launched during the internationally recognised “16 days of activism to end violence against women and children”, the publication is designed to be of assistance in the everyday working life of presiding officers, prosecutors, defence lawyers, social workers, intermediaries and other professionals.

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Read more about this publication on the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) website

 

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Latest News

18 June 2018

Centre for Child Law Brief - "Violence in schools - Public Anger Misdirected"

The Centre's Director, Prof. Ann Skelton, reflects on news about school violence that dominated the week running up to Youth Day 2018. Early in the week, a video surfaced showing what purported to be two girls assaulting a teacher. The video went viral on social media, with the image being viewed again and again. There was a public outcry, radio station callers complained that kids are out of control, they have too many rights, we are too soft on the youth, we must get tougher, bring back corporal punishment, put cameras in every classroom.

As it turns out, the victim of the violence was not a teacher after all. The Limpopo Department of Education spokesperson confirmed that the two learners doing the assaulting as well as their victim were all learners at a school in Limpopo province, and the assault took place outside the victim's home, and not on school premises as previously assumed. Education MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe said that the Department viewed this conduct in a serious light as it had brought the school into disrepute. He added that the Department vehemently condemns violence among learners and violence against teachers by leaners'.

But what about violence by teachers against learners? In the same week, Radio 702 reported on the death of a girl in Limpopo, following an incident on 28 May 2018 in which the Principal of the school she attended, banged the girl's head against a windowpane in the staffroom, causing a head injury. The girl died on 9 June 2018. While the link between the assault and her death has not be proved, assault is assault and should have attracted an arrest. The Principal has not been arrested. Following that story, there was no public outcry, limited media coverage, no calls from journalists to the Centre for Child Law. There were no angry statements from SADTU, no vehement condemnation of violence by teachers against pupils from the Department of Education. A telling silence.

Read the brief for more:

Violence in Schools

15 June 2018

Centre for Human Rights & Centre for Child Law call on the Government of South to "Leave No Child Behind"

On 16 June 2018, Africa commemorates the Day of the African Child 2018 under the theme "Leave No Child Behind for Africa's Development". This year's theme aims to target children who are not benefitting from Africa's growth and development. African countries are challenged to ensure that children are at the centre and not left behind in the drive towards sustainable economic development. This day is commemorated in memory of the Soweto student uprising, that began on June 16 1976, when students marched in protest against the poor quality of education they received and demanded to be taught in their own languages.

The Centre for Human Rights (CHR) and the Centre for Child Law (CCL), both based at the University of Pretoria, encourage South Africa to use this opportunity to reflect on whether it is rising to the challenge to leave no child behind. South Africa's child rights legal framework is one of the most progressive and respected in Africa and the world. It is developed and improved with the aim of viewing each child in South Africa as an individual with rights accrued to him or her as a human being.

However, despite the advances that have been taken to improve the situation of children in South Africa, a lot remains to be done to ensure that children are at centre stage and participate in the drive towards sustainable economic development. Recent events highlight the need to do more to ensure that children in South Africa are beneficiaries of constitutionally promised rights and freedoms.

The Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for Child Law highlight a number of rights violations and barriers that need to be addressed by the Government of South Africa, they deal with: children's right to protest; placing children with disabilities high on the political agenda; and the eradication of pit latrine toilets in rural schools. 

For more see a joint press statement:

CCL & CHR Joint Press Statement

Centre for Child Law