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Children's Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005)

Chapter 2 : General Principles

6. General Principles


(1) The general principles set out in this section guide—
(a) the implementation of all legislation applicable to children, including this Act;
(b) all proceedings, actions and decisions by any organ of state in any matter concerning a child or children in general.


(2) All proceedings, actions or decisions in a matter concerning a child must—
(a) respect, protect, promote and fulfil the child’s rights set out in the Bill of Rights, the best interests of the child standard set out in section 7 and the rights and principles set out in this Act, subject to any lawful limitation;
(b) respect the child’s inherent dignity;
(c) treat the child fairly and equitably;
(d) protect the child from unfair discrimination on any ground, including on the grounds of the health status or disability of the child or a family member of the child;
(e) recognise a child’s need for development and to engage in play and other recreational activities appropriate to the child’s age; and
(f) recognise a child’s disability and create an enabling environment to respond to the special needs that the child has.


(3) If it is in the best interests of the child, the child’s family must be given the opportunity to express their views in any matter concerning the child.


(4) In any matter concerning a child—
(a) an approach which is conducive to conciliation and problem-solving should be followed and a confrontational approach should be avoided; and
(b) a delay in any action or decision to be taken must be avoided as far as possible.


(5) A child, having regard to his or her age, maturity and stage of development, and a person who has parental responsibilities and rights in respect of that child, where appropriate, must be informed of any action or decision taken in a matter concerning the child which significantly affects the child.