News24.com | ANALYSIS | What does the legislation say about bullying?

What are the regulations and lawful principles that ought to be taken into myth when a child is engrossing about bullying? Mthokozisi Maphumulo examines the venture.


Bullying is now not a novel phenomenon.

Many folk, worldwide, like skilled bullying in a single manner or the opposite – infrequently with out even taking cognisance that they’re being bullied.

It is available in numerous kinds, some more severe than others. As times alternate, forms of bullying moreover “adapt” and alternate originate. The drivers of bullying, the perpetrators, adopt unique forms of bullying and the receivers, the victims, are scarred in heaps of how – emotionally, psychologically, bodily, spiritually and otherwise.

Within the South African context, specifically, bullying has been gaining momentum in an extremely perplexing manner.

Schools, in dispute, like change into the major centres of bullying and, even more strangely, it doesn’t supreme occur between pupils because it feeble to be the case previously.

On the present time, we note pupils bullying or verbally abusing lecturers. With the ever-rising salvage admission to to expertise and the rising employ of social media, we salvage to love a look at movies of these incidents. The stay of such incidents now not supreme discontinuance with the concerned perpetrators and victims, but it spreads across our communities.

Necessary rot in our communities germinate from these bullying incidents which begin in colleges.

It has constantly been the case that perpetrators salvage punished – ordinarily it’d be dealt with internally inner colleges. With the magnitude and severity of the forms of bullying that we are actually witnessing, there are fairly quite a lot of lawful questions that must aloof be answered in issue to eradicate bullying now not supreme in colleges but in our communities as effectively.

It is therefore serious that we locate at these questions: Can now we like regulations in do to assist in facing bullying and, if that’s the case, are they ample? Can victims sue for damages? Within the occasion that they might be able to, who can they sue? Can perpetrators be held criminally liable?.

The regulations and lawful principles 

Within the case of early life, the regulations are applied in a capacity that considers the truth that they’re early life – taking cognisance of their youthfulness; immaturity; inability to totally esteem and understand the seriousness of ramifications that can moreover fair float from their actions.

The legislation makes a distinction between early life under the age of seven (they lack capacity and can’t be held legally liable for his or her actions); early life from seven years of age are presumed to lack capacity, but this presumption can even be rebutted – whereby case then the minor can even be held to blame. From the age of 15 to 18, early life can even be held legally responsible.

Therefore, when one considers the heaps of regulations that are in do, one has to take discover of these in opposition to the afore-going.

READ | Limpopo pupil dies, says training dept, because it probes video showing bullying

The Structure of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, offers heaps of rights that are to be enjoyed by “all people” (this includes early life).

These consist of: fair to equality; fair to dignity; fair to lifestyles; fair to freedom and security of particular person; fair to safe environment; fair to training.

Drastically, the Structure dedicates a entire share (Fragment 28) to early life and as well they experience the rights explicated therein. Then there might possibly be the Kids’s Act, which, inter alia, purports to safeguard and offer protection to the rights and interests of early life. Furthermore, in cases of bullying going on in colleges, there might possibly be the Schools Act – which requires colleges to love a code of habits. These are your total relevant lawful instruments that note to give protection to early life in opposition to bullying.

All people (including early life themselves) like a responsibility to appreciate and promote these rights and never to deprive somebody from playing them. Therefore, failure to ascertain these rights attracts lawful accountability i.e. some originate of lawful consequences.

In criminal legislation, looking on the personality and extent of the bullying, a bully might possibly well moreover fair face criminal charges of assault with intent to inflict severe bodily damage; assault; intimidation; crimen injuria; and so forth. These can even be laid in opposition to school newbies who are bullies.

In civil legislation, there would be claims for damages in opposition to the college and/or Department of Education and/or more specifically, the bully.

Claim for emotional shock and trauma

The unfamiliar info of every case will resolve who must aloof be held responsible and, the success of the case will moreover make certain upon the info.

In some low cases where a minor dies from low forms of bullying – the minor’s family must aloof aloof claim for emotional shock and trauma and distress. The do conditions allow, there might possibly well moreover fair moreover be a claim for constitutional damages.

Whereas punishment measures in do are meant to rehabilitate the perpetrators, specifically in the context of early life, there has to be equally protective regulations for the victims. Harsher punishment would be a deterrent mechanism. In so doing, you inspire self assurance in the public about our justice machine.

Whereas civil claims are major as they play a needed role in consoling victims and allowing them some monetary freedom to love a look at authentic relieve, the healing direction of requires perpetrators to be held to blame in a befitting manner.

– Mthokozisi Maphumulo is an Partner and Litigation Attorney at Adams and Adams.


Disclaimer:  News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of various views. The views of columnists printed on News24 are therefore their like and stay now not necessarily signify the views of News24

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