A divorced lesbian couple from Pretoria are embroiled in a bitter dispute over their children, after one of them began an affair with a black man and allegedly exposed the couple’s son to “superstitious” practices.
According to court papers, the divorced couple, who may not be identified in order to protect the minor children, each gave birth to a child during the marriage by making use of sperm donors.
The couple had a boy and a girl. Both are under the age of 10 years.
Since then, one of the parents, the biological mother of the son, became involved in a relationship with a man from Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria.
In terms of their divorce settlement, both parents have full parental rights and responsibilities towards their children. It is alleged that the parent involved in the new relationship regularly took the couple’s son, her biological child, with her when she visited the man in Hammanskraal.
Her ex-wife has now approached the high court in Pretoria in order to limit the biological mother of the son’s contact rights to both children.
In court papers she argues that her ex-wife’s new love interest has “superstitious beliefs” which are contrary to the Christian religion.
He is also a member of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) and she alleges that the boy is forced to follow ZCC religious practices when he is there.
“This has led to confusion over what he may and may not do, like eating bacon for breakfast at my house.”
She is also concerned about the fact that the man keeps American pit bull terriers at his house, a breed of dog “known as aggressive and dangerous animals, especially towards strangers”.
She claims that her ex had already begun the relationship with the man in 2015, when they were still married. They tried to save the marriage, but her then wife did not want to give up the extramarital affair.
“I have always been cautious to allow elaborate contact between the children and the man,” reads her court papers. “I do not know what hardships the children shall be exposed to.”
She also submitted photos, taken of the boy while he was in Hammanskraal, to the court. One shows him running around in a dusty yard.
She alleges the man is “ill-tempered” and that he has displayed clear bias against homosexual people. “I have a reasonable fear that he may have a superstition about how the children were brought into this world and that it may motivate him to cause them harm.”
She argues that the children’s best interests are not served by their other mother’s sporadic contact with them, nor the presence of her new boyfriend.
In her answering affidavit, her former spouse said she had befriended the man at a petrol station, where he worked as a petrol attendant. A spiritual bond developed and they fell in love. She said that the man “led her to God”. She gave birth to their daughter in 2017.
“He is good to me, my son and our baby daughter. Our son calls him ‘Papa’ and he is very happy in his presence. There is no reason to limit my contact with our children as a result of an irrational fear of (the man).”
She said there is one pit bull, which is always kept in a cage, and which presents no danger to the children.
Her new life partner has a comfortable house with proper sanitation, water and electricity in Hammanskraal and he is in no way biased against homosexual people. “There are homosexual people in his family and he loves them.”
Some of her colleagues at work had suggested that her son be taken to Moria. “The only requirement was that he had to stop eating pork for six months.”
She claims that during the marriage she was the one that ensured that the children had a healthy diet, especially the boy. It was therefore untrue that her son did not have a healthy diet. She alleges that she became a vegetarian for this reason, to make sure the right kind of food was in the home. She also alleges that she thinks her ex is making unfounded statements about the man “because she is still angry and hurt over my relationship with him. I also suspect his race plays a role in her anger and mistrust towards him.”
Acting Judge John Holland-Müter has since ordered that the applicant (the biological mother of the daughter) will be the children’s primary caregiver.
Her ex can see the children under supervision every second weekend, for four hours on a Saturday and four hours on a Sunday.
Both parents have to approve the place where the visits will take place, as well as the person who will supervise. If they cannot agree, a curator will appoint the supervisor.
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