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APCOF - Zita Hansungule


Questionable Correction: Independent Oversight of Child and Youth Care Centres in South Africa
(The Centre's Zita Hansungule wrote this policy brief that was produced by the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF))

Download the Policy Brief here

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Harmonizing the Legal Environment for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: A review of 23 countries in East and Southern Africa
(The Centre's Ann Skelton and Karabo Ozah contributed to the writing of the report that was produced by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA))

Download the report here

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Advocacy Brief: Advancing the Rights of Children with Disabilities
(written by Patricia Martin; based on research by Ann Skelton and Zita Hansungule and consultative workshops with disability rights advocates)

Download the report here

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The Alternate Report Coalition - Child Rights South Africa (ARC-CRSA) made submissions to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child on the SA government's report on the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. View our submissions and annexures below.


Annexure 1

Annexure 2

Annexure 3

Annexure A

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Size of Pie

The Size of the Pie and How to Cut It: Assessing the NAWONGO Case and the Effects on Social Welfare Allocations for Children by Debbie Budlender
Download the report here.

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Budgets  Bricks Icon Budgets and Bricks: Progress with school infrastructure following the Rivonia Primary School case by Carmen Abdoll
Download the report here.

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Strategic Litigation Impacts: Equal Access to Quality Education
Commissioned by the Open Society Justice Initiative
Access report on the OSJI website here

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United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child

 Civil society's (ARC-CRSA) Alternate Report - 31 Oct 2015

 Civil society's (ARC-CRSA) Supplementary Report - August 2016

UNCRC Concluding Observations on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - 7 Oct 2016

UNCRC Concluding Observations on the Optional Protocol to the CRC



African Commission on Human & Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)

South Africa's Combined Second Periodic Report under the African Charter on Human and People's Rights and Initial Report Under the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in South Africa.

Concluding Observations and Recommendations on the Combined Second Periodic Report under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Initial Report under the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa of the Republic of South Africa.

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African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC)


Concluding Recommendations by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) on the Republic of South Africa Initial Report on the Status of Implementation of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child



South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC)

Discussion Paper 132 (Project 138) Revised Discussion Paper, The Practice of Ukuthwala (by the SALRC). Download.

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Guidelines for legal representatives of children in civil matters
Commissioned and edited by the Centre for Child Law, 2016

Download the publication



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Making Room:Facilitating the testimony of child witnesses and victims
Commissioned and edited by the Centre for Child Law, 2015

This publication comes almost 5 years after the Constitutional Court, in Director for Public Prosecutions v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, emphasised the need for special arrangements to be made for child witnesses and victims testifying in court.

The publication considers data eminating from multiple sources which assist in determining whether the state has complied with the Constitutional Court order to improve court services for child witnesses and victims. A number of sources are considered, including the 2009 report submitted by the Department to the Court, a 2012 survery report commissioned by the Centre for Child Law, the 2014 Presentation: Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services provided by the Department of Justice. A number of concerns are raised including the fact that the method of collecting and recording information is inconsistent, making tracking of provision of service very difficult; lack of accommodation resulting in some courts not having separate waiting rooms for children; lack of job security for intermediaries who were often appointed on a contract basis and not permanent basis; lack of toys to keep children busy; lack of refreshments for children.

Download the publication  
Summary of the Constitutional Court judgment

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Mud to bricks: A review of school infrastructure spending and delivery
Written by Carmen Abdoll and Conrad Barberton
Commissioned by the Centre for Child Law, 2014

Dilapidated 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 infrastructure 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, amongst 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 schools had been completed at the end of the first year.

Download the publication

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Promoting Effective Enforcement of the Prohibition Against Corporal Punishment in South African Schools
Written by Faranaaz Veriava
Commissioned by the Centre for Child Law, 2014


 South Africa can boast that it was the second country on the African continent (after Namibia) to ban corporal punishment when it passed the South African Schools Act in 1996. Almost two decades later, as the South Africa government prepares to present reports to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, a grave truth must be admitted. The General Household Survey for 2012 showed that 15.8% of all children reported having experienced corporal punishment in school during that year. That amounts to 2.2 million children being hit in South African
schools within one year. Practice simply does not reflect the law’s promise.This report considers the prevalence of corporal punishment in schools, and depicts the forms that it takes through numerous documented examples. Official ambivalence and weak regulatory systems are identified as part of the country-wide problem. Improvements in some provinces are highlighted, and these are linked to deliberate programmatic responses, giving rise to hopes that corporal punishment, if effectively tackled, can ultimately be eradicated. In the conclusion to this report, Faranaaz Veriava prescribes a platform for action by government, the South African Human Rights Commission and other civil society role players. It is time for action.

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SA's progress in realising children's right A law review

South Africa's progress in realising children's rights: A law review
Edited by Paula Proudlock
A Children's Institute Publication, 2014

The year 2014 marks 20 years of democracy for South Africa. Children born in 1994, at the start of democracy, are now 20 years old and entering the next phase of their lives as young adults. It is a good moment to take stock of South's progress in realising children's rights.

This book focuses on a selection of laws and examines whether they have been designed and are being implemented in compliance with international and constitutional law. Where design flaws or implementation challenges are identified, the authors make recommendations  for reform.

The Centre for Child Law's Morgan Courtenay and Zita Hansungule wrote chapter 7 that deals with protecting the rights of children in conflict with the law and reviewed South Africa's Child Justice Act.

Download the publication

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Children at the Centre: A Guide to the Registration of Child and Youth Care Centres
Written by Patricia Martin
Commissioned by the Centre for Child Law, 2012

Despite the fact that 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'.

Download this publication

Justice for child victims and witnesses of crimes
Edited by the Centre for Child Law, 2008

Child victims and witnesses of crime are amongst the most vulnerable people in the justice system. The United Nations issued guidelines for their protection in 2005. This publication sets out the guidelines in the South African context.

Does South African law reflect these guidelines? What are the challenges to be faced in order to bring South African law and practice in line with these international standards? Answers to these questions are provided in this up-to-date analysis of the current state of the law.

This publication is a useful guide for students of law, as well as for practitioners who work with children in the courts. Launched during the internationally recognised “16 days of activism to end violence against women and children”, the publication is designed to be of assistance in the everyday working life of presiding officers, prosecutors, defence lawyers, social workers, intermediaries and other professionals.

Download this publication


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Latest News

18 January 2019


The beginning of the 2019 academic year saw some parents scramble to find places for their children in Gauteng schools. On 7 January 2019, it was reported that just over 17 000 learners still needed to be placed in grades 1 and 8 classes. The Centre for Child Law (the Centre) is concerned by the persistence of school placement shortages in the province.

The Centre calls on the Gauteng Provincial Education Department (GPED) to remedy this through review of its planning process. In line with this call, the Centre is completing a study to highlight the problems faced by the GPED and possible solutions.

For more see the press statement below -

Press Statement


Centre for Child Law