oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - A comparison of South African and European views on corporal punishment

Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



From a brief survey it is apparent that there is a degree of ambivalence regarding the question of corporal punishment in South Africa. Although it appears to be recognised by the courts, if not always by the legislature, that whipping is a grave affront to human dignity and should be sparingly used, if at all, the feeling nevertheless seems to remain that the peculiar circumstances of the country warrant its continued application. Moreover, in the moderated form of juvenile whippings, it seems to be regarded as an acceptable means of keeping juveniles out of overcrowded prisons. In view of this ambivalence and the ever-present temptation to use corporal punishment as a means of curtailing the prison population, it is perhaps not inappropriate to cast a glance at the European attitudes towards corporal punishment. In this regard it is noteworthy that corporal punishment has been abandoned by most civilised countries of the world.

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