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An implementation analysis of the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 with specific focus on child justice courts in South Africa.

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Children committing crime is a major issue throughout the world, as a result, societies came to agreement that children in conflict with the law must be respected in line with the signed treaties through formulating a child justice system that handles cases of child offenders. In South Africa, the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 was introduced to protect the rights of child offenders as stated in the Constitution. After examining the official figures from annual reports on the implementation of the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008, it indicated that from the total number of children arrested, some children did not go through the child justice courts. The study aimed at investigating the implementation of the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 to see whether child justice courts are operating in accordance with the Act and attempts to find out the roles and experiences of street-level bureaucrats and children in conflict with the law to uncover any other issues related to the implementation of the Act in the courts. Regarding research design, the study employed a qualitative secondary analysis of primary and secondary data, making it desktop research. The researcher collected and analyzed existing documents, legislations, previous research studies and reports involving issues around implementation of the Act and the use of child justice courts in South Africa as its case study. After analyzing the data given and linking up with the theories of the study, the research established that despite the existence of the Act, barriers related to the implementation of the Act included lack of capacity building, lack of commitment and lack of an integrated management system due the lack of co-operation between stakeholders. The findings revealed challenges faced by the implementers were lack of resources and working in a stress loaded working environment where the demand for services is high. The findings also revealed that the child offenders have access to legal representation but find challenges in getting to know information about their court trials, lengthy period of trial and detention in prison, and in receiving restorative programs. Due to the inadequate resources and structures available, there still need for adjustments to be made in the provision of child justice and this can work if the government adjusts its policies and putting more efficiency in implementing the Child Justice Act whereby child rights will be recognized and promoted.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.