But parents vow to defy government

Tebogo Monama and Kamogelo Seekoei

Tebogo Monama and Kamogelo Seekoei

Madness. Nobody can tell me how to raise my child or when to smack or not smack my child.

These were among the angry responses by most parents yesterday to a draft bill in Parliament that they would have to pay R300 each time they smacked their offspring.

Sowetan went out to gauge the views of the public.

Also angry were the PAC and Azapo. Both said they would defy the government if the bill became law by encouraging parents to continue smacking their children "for the good of society".

PAC spokesman Mudini Maivha said: "Parents do it out of love for their children. In our culture, children are children and will remain that.

"As parents we have a duty to make sure that we guide our children and if it means a bit of a smack it is okay," he said.

Azapo spokesman Dan Habedi said, should legislation be passed, it would be "ultra-democracy" which would destroy families.

"The government disempowered teachers by banning corporal punishment, now they are targeting parents. I will not stop smacking my children, and any parent who stops would be contributing towards the destruction of society," he said.

Themba Thabethe, who has a seven-year-old son, said no government would tell him how to raise his son. "The child is mine and the government is not going to tell me how to raise my child. He will listen to my rules and that is that."

Yaseen Wilson said his daughter would be raised with discipline. "I don't believe a child should be left without supervision. And the government cannot just paint everyone with the same brush. There are degrees of smacking a child. Some are downright abuse, but most of us just want to teach our children the difference between right and wrong."

Nomsa Gule, who has three children, said it was a parent's responsibility to discipline their children. "If my child opens a case against me, he must never come back home. He must go and stay with that government."

Faiez Dolley said he does not hit his child, but his wife does give her "the odd smack". "That is not wrong because it teaches a child principles.

"Today children have no manners because they know they have rights. Look at what is happening in schools after they banned corporal punishment."

Mosa Marite said the government was breeding a lost generation. "The government should be trying to uphold morals and not destroy them."