Corporal punishment outlawed

HARARE - High Court judge David Mangota has granted an order outlawing corporal punishment in schools and at home, following an application filed by a parent and a minors’ rights organisation — Justice for Children Trust.

Tendai Biti, who appeared on behalf of the applicants, confirmed the development to the Daily News.

“We are very proud of the ruling as the papers showed that there has been heavy assaulting of children in schools,” he said, adding it is now up to government to make a distinction between disciplining and assault.

When the application was filed last year, Linah Pfungwa told the court that her daughter was heavily assaulted by her school teacher only identified in court papers as (Mrs) Chemhere of Belvedere Junior Primary School where she was doing her Grade One.

According to court papers, Chemhere kept a thick rubber pipe in her office, which she used to assault Pfungwa’s daughter.

This was after Pfungwa failed to sign her daughter’s homework book as she was attending to her diabetic mother.

Following the assault, her daughter sustained major bruises and could hardly sleep properly.

“On the following Monday, my child was so traumatised that she refused to go to school.

“She was crying and I had to force her to go to school,” Pfungwa said.

It later turned that several parents had a similar complaint against the same teacher, with testimonies that their children had also been assaulted.

“I strongly believe that no one, whether a school, a teacher or parent at home, should inflict corporal punishment on children.

“I believe 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,” Pfungwa said.

She further said it is abnormal for a school teacher to abuse any child, adding that every child has a right to be protected from economic and sexual exploitation.

Pfungwa said corporal punishment breaches provisions of Section 53 of the Constitution, which stipulates that no person may be subjected to physical or psychological torture or to cruel inhuman or degrading treatment.

She sought an order for corporal punishment at home or school to be declared unconstitutional.

In her application, Pfungwa cited the headmistress at Belvedere Junior Primary School, Education minister Lazarus Dokora and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa as respondents.

Vernanda Munyoro appeared on behalf of the respondents.

Comments (4)

I totally disagree with your ruling. You were supposed to consult us parents first not kungopasisa tumutemo twakadhakwa. Mwana anoda shamu to build her future. Mark my words muchaona vana vachipanana nhumbu zvisati zvambooneka.

Facts - 2 March 2017

Spare the rod spoil the child. Banning corporal punishment at schools, well I do not want to say much on that, but at home??? Let deal wit our children the best we can. If you a loving parent you know what is best for your child. You have to shape his/her future. Please these people on human rights especially ladies mot have broken families, and now they are after yours. My home is my home hands of I love my family and all I do is for them and I am doing my best, I know how to take corrective measures should need be.

A. C. Sitshela - 3 March 2017

Spare the rod spoil the child. Banning corporal punishment at schools, well I do not want to say much on that, but at home??? Let deal wit our children the best we can. If you a loving parent you know what is best for your child. You have to shape his/her future. Please these people on human rights especially ladies mot have broken families, and now they are after yours. My home is my home hands of I love my family and all I do is for them and I am doing my best, I know how to take corrective measures should need be.

A. C. Sitshela - 3 March 2017

See www.nospank.net. It should be against the law for adults to hit small children.

Earl Richards - 3 March 2017

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