Corporal Punishment Still Happening At Schools After Ban

Although abolished in South Africa in 1997, recent statistics indicate that corporal punishment remains ongoing in schools across the country.


Corporal Punishment Still Happening At Schools After Ban

Even though corporal punishment was banned in South Africa more than two decades ago, it is still used as a form of discipline in many schools today. A recent report released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) revealed that corporal punishment is not yet a thing of the past.

Corporal punishment is the deliberate infliction of physical pain as a response to “negative” behavior by learners and continues to be used by South African teachers as a way of disciplining their students.


The report from StatsSA indicated that corporal punishment by teachers was the most common form of violence children experienced at school.

About 60% of students who reported incidents of corporal punishment from teachers came from rural areas, however, 70% of learners who experienced physical violence from teachers lived in urban areas.

It was also revealed that black African children were three times more likely to report having experienced some form of violence at school than white learners.


This report showed that schoolchildren were more likely to experience abuse from their teachers than from their peers.

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In 2019, almost 14% of school-going children reported having experienced verbal abuse from their teachers.

Furthermore, it indicated that in 2019, female learners were more likely to experience corporal punishment (53%) and physical violence from teachers (61%) than their male counterparts.


The provinces with the highest percentage of children who experienced violence at school were KwaZulu-Natal (35.1%), the Eastern Cape (18.1%), Gauteng (11.8%), and North West (10.2%).

In 2022, the Western Cape recorded the highest rate of reported corporal punishment cases by teachers, with 85 cases. The Eastern Cape followed with 53 cases, and Gauteng with 35. These numbers were reported by the South African Council of Educators.

Overall, StatsSA reported that nationally, the percentage of students who experienced any type of violence from teachers at school decreased from 18.6% in 2009, to 8.2% in 2019, however, few provinces showed a definitive drop in patterns.

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) encourages all learners who have experienced some form of violence from teachers to report the incident so that those responsible can face the consequences.


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