SA implements new laws on child rights

After the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), the government of South Africa set out to domesticate these international treaties into legalisation. After countless debates in its national parliament and with incredible input from non-government organisations, South Africa enacted a new Children’s Act 38 of 2005 and a Children’s Amendment Act 41 of 2007. This legislation amends the previous Child Care Act, which was enacted before South Africa ratified the UNCRC and the ACRWC. With that, the legislature also enacted a completely new justice system for children in conflict with the law, known as the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008.


In order to put the necessary systems and procedures in place, under the new systems created by the Children’s Act, Amendment Act and Child Justice Act, the operation of these pieces of legislation were delayed until 1 April 2010. Only a few provisions, in relation to parental rights and responsibilities were implemented before 1 April 2010. Thus, 1 April 2010 saw a complete new era for children’s rights that is more compliant with international law than was the position before.

To view the content of these pieces of legislation, please free to download the legislation here (please link this to the national legislation for South Africa part of the website), and to have a more in depth analysis of child justice issues in South Africa, please feel free to visit