Parents can no longer beat children in Zimbabwe even when they misbehave

Zimbabwe high court has banned the beating of children at school or at home.

The ruling comes after a parent complained that her child in Grade One, a class for six-year-olds, had deep bruises after a beating by a teacher.

Linah Pfungwa said her daughter had been punished for failing to have her reading book signed by guardians as proof she had done her homework.

With the support of Justice for Children’s Trust in the country, Pfungwa filed the court application arguing that corporal punishment was a form of violence and must be abolished.

She indicated in her affidavit that her daughter who was in Grade One, was severely assaulted with a rubber pipe by her teacher identified as Mrs Chemhere.

Justice David Mangota, in his judgement, held that parents and teachers must not lay their hands on children even if they misbehave.

Recently another High Court judge Justice Esther Muremba, ruled out caning of juveniles as judicial punishment, but the decision now awaits confirmation at the Constitutional Court.

Justice Mangota also declared unconstitutional Section 69(2) (c) of the Education Act which permits corporal punishment.

Sections 3 to 7 of the Education Disciplinary Regulations 1985 contained in Statutory Instrument 362 of 1998, was declared to be in violation of the Constitution.

Justice Mangota will write a detailed judgment giving reasons for his decision. However, the matter will be sent to the Constitutional Court for confirmation.

Constitutional law expert Mr Tendai Biti, filed the court application at the High Court in June last year on behalf of a parent whose child was being beaten by a teacher at Belvedere Primary School in Harare.