Centre for Child Law PDF Print E-mail

Annual report 2013 front cover 1The Centre for Child Law  was established in 1998 and is based in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria. The Director of the Centre is Prof Ann Skelton.

The contribute towards establishing and promoting the best interests of children in South Africa through litigation, advocacy, research and education.

The Centre is registered as a Law Clinic which through strategic impact litigation aims to set legal precedent to improve and strengthen laws pertaining to children.

                              Download Annual Report 2013

Mud to bricks: A review of school infrastructure spending and delivery

MudtoBricks CoverDilapidated public school infrastructure can be found across the country, but the problem is particularly acute in the Eastern Cape where the majority of the so called 'mud schools' are located. On 04 February 2011, following court action on the issue of mud schools, the Legal Resources Centre, acting on behalf of 7 schools and the Centre for Child Law, concluded a landmark settlement with the National Department of Basic Education in which the Department committed to spend R8.2 billion from 1 April 2011 to 1 March 2014 to eradicate mud schools and improve infrastructure of schools throughout South Africa.

The Centre for Child Law commissioned Cornerstone Economic Research, to track school infrastucture spending and delivery. The aim of the research was to assess what progress has been made in addressing the issues that brought about the litigation.

This study, amonst other things, makes the concerning finding that the Department has woefully underspent the allocated school infrastructure funding for two years running. The target for the number of schools to be built in 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 was 49. However, only 10 had been completed at the end of the first year.

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Children at the centre: A guide to the registration of Child and Youth Care Centres

Despite the fact thCYCC Manual Web pic1at the Children's Act 38 of 2005 has been in operation for nearly three years, many child care facilities (including facilities previously referred to as children's homes) have not registered as child and youth care centres as prescribed by the Act.

The Centre saw the need to provide some assistance in the registration process and therefore put together a practical manual on registration of Child and Youth Care Centres.

The aim of this manual is to provide practical guidance to child care facilities through clarifying the registration requirements and procedures to be followed and through addressing the 'frequently asked questions'. 

"[A]ll the facilities recognised the importance of registration but were, without exception, crippled by the lack of information on the registration requirements and procedures..."

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Latest Judgments

Wayne Coughlan N.O v The Road Accident Fund
(CT 160/14) [2015] ZACC 9 (20 April 2015)
Constitutional Court finds that foster child grants and 
child support grants should not be deducted from 
compensation that RAF is liable to pay to children for 
loss of support resulting from the death of their parents
View Judgment
Jezile v S (A127/2014) [2015] ZAWCHC (23 March 2015)
Western Cape High Court finds that the customary
practice of 'Ukuthwala' is not a defence against
charges of trafficking, rape and assault of a child

Upcoming Cases and Events



Constitutional Court - 07 May 2015
Acting Speaker of the National Assembly v Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children and Another CCT 54/15

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Latest News



On 10 May 2015 the Sunday Times carried a front page article alleging that the Department of Basic Education plans to provide condoms to children younger than 12 years old. The article was also carried on the front page of Beeld on 11 May 2015. Civil society organisations (Centre for Child Law, RAPCAN, Community Law Centre Parliamentary Programme, Women's Legal Centre and Molo Songololo) are deeply concerned that the articles misrepresented the Department's new draft policy on HIV, STIs and TB.

The articles state that, in addition to making condoms available to children from grade 7 to 12, children in grades 4 to 6 (who would be aged 9 to 12) will also be given condoms where required. However, nowhere in the draft policy does it state that children aged 9 to 12 will be provided with condoms. 

The policy under scrutiny in the report refers to schooling phases not ages; it provides that counselling on sexual and reproductive health issues will be provided to senior and FET phase learners - as well as intermediate learners, where required. This includes the provision of condoms and HIV counselling and testing and other assistance. Properly read with other relevant legislation this means that children in grades 4 to 6 would 'be required' to receive condoms if they are older than 12.

This does however point to a need for the policy to be drafted in a manner that provides better clarity. We believe that the policy should state more explicitly that the provisions of section 134 of the Children's Act 38 of 2005 applies. The section deals with the provision of condoms, contraceptives and health care services to children 12 and above.

We are also concerned that the perception has been created that teenage pregnancies are spiralling out of control. Research by the Southern African Labour Development Research Unit as well as figures from the 2011 report on the Annual Survey of Ordinary Schools indicate that there has been a significant decrease in teenage prenancies.

For more information:
Press Release_12/05/2015 


Centre for Child Law