In June, we commemorate Youth Day.

This is another opportunity to celebrate our youth for boldness, bravery and for challenging the status quo. Fees must fall organized protests, young SA artists (musicians, comedians, etc.) proving that our country has superb talent and South African young adults winning golden medals during last year’s Olympic games… are a few of the many feathers in the cap of today’s youth.


7 Bullet facts:

1. The United Nations defines the world’s ‘youth’ as persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years. South Africa’s National Youth Policy on the other hand, defines ‘youth’ as persons between the ages of 14 and 35.

2. A ‘child’ in South Africa is defined in terms of The Children’s Act as a person up to the age of 18 years. Prior to 2007, the legal age for becoming an adult was 21.

3. A person older than 18 may still claim maintenance from a biological parent, the only difference is that it is no longer one parent claiming on behalf of the child. A person older than 18 must bring a maintenance application in his/ her own name. This means completing all the relevant documentation and applying in person at Court.

4. Previously in terms of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2007, the law allowed for consenting adolescents engaging in sexual activity, to be arrested and listed on the National Register for Sex Offenders. This was declared unconstitutional on the basis of human dignity and privacy in the Constitutional Court case of Teddy Bear Clinic in 2013. The Court also ruled that this was not in line with the best interests of the child standard.

5. The Children’s Act underscores that the best interests of a child is of paramount importance when considering a matter that concerns a child.

6. The abovementioned act furthermore allows for child participation in Court cases/ matters that concern him/ her and adds that the weight placed on such participation will depend on the child’s age, maturity and development stage.

7. As of 1996 it is illegal for a teacher to physically punish (corporal punishment) a child. The South African Human Rights Commission is trying to criminalize corporal discipline at home too. Countries such as Kenya, Germany and Spain have completely criminalized the corporal punishment of a child (at home, school, etc.).