The Child Justice Act
The Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 (the Act) has had a long and tumultuous history. The process which resulted in the Act being signed into law on 7 May 2009 began in late 1996 with the appointment of a Project Committee of the South African Law Commission (as it was then known but now known as the South African Law Reform Commission) to investigate juvenile justice. This Committee began work in 1997 and in 2000 finalised its Report on Juvenile Justice together with a draft Child Justice Bill. This draft Bill was submitted to the Department of Justice and in 2002 it was introduced to parliament as Bill 49 of 2002.
The purpose of this endeavour was to ensure that children's voices were also heard in the drafting of new laws that affected them.
It seeks to ensure children's accountability and respect for the fundamental freedoms of others, and through the use of diversion, alternative sentencing and restorative justice prevent crime and promote public safety.