Mzamomhle mother Phumza Kadeni held her daughter in her arms for the first time in two months on Monday after she was granted visitation rights.
In a statement issued by child and family welfare organisation CMR, chief social worker Gaye Moonieya said Kadeni would be allowed to spend one day a week with her daughter for the next 30 days while CMR carried out an investigation into the custody feud between Kadeni and East London magistrate Michelle Pillay.
“An agreement has been reached that Ms Kadeni and her family will visit once a week for the next 30 days while we conduct a court-ordered investigation in terms of Section 50 of the Children’s Act,” said the statement.
Moonieya said CMR was to report back to the court after the 30 days on a way of facilitating Kadeni’s reunification with her daughter. She said the child was not being kept away from Kadeni because of her poverty.
“This was never a case of poor versus rich. Children grow up in shacks in our country every day.
“The issue at hand is that there has been minimal contact with Ms Kadeni and her baby for the past two months.
“She is bonded with Mrs Pillay and an instant removal would be traumatic for her.
“We are working to cause as little disruption to the baby as possible while considering the interests of all involved, with the mom’s rights paramount.”
When asked what grounds the court used to grant that the child remain with Pillay and what led to the child’s separation from its mother in the first place, Moonieya would not comment on the matter.
Kadeni said while she did not understand why her daughter was being kept away from her, she was happy to see her “after such a long time”.
She said she sat with her daughter and her firstborn son for three hours on Monday afternoon on Pillay’s lawn and watched her children play and bond once more.
She said Pillay did not allow them inside her house during the visit.
“I laid my jacket on the lawn so that my daughter could crawl around and play, but I did not mind because nothing else mattered. My daughter was so happy around us.”
She said spending time with her daughter made her regret ever crossing paths with Pillay.
“My heart ached after seeing her because if things were different I would be raising my child as I should be. My son  is healthy and happy. Why is my daughter kept away from me?”
Kadeni said she would cooperate with the social workers because she wanted her child back. She said Moonieya told her she would get her daughter back once the investigation was complete.
“I’m not happy with the arrangement because how will my daughter get to know me if I just see her once a week?
“But I will comply with what they have said or else they’ll end up using that against me.”
The police said a criminal investigation of Pillay was under way after Kadeni opened a case of kidnapping against the magistrate.
Gonubie station commander Lieutenant-Colonel Tolekile Mdyogolo said: “The investigation into the matter is going on, and we are busy gathering witnesses and the full story so that when we go to court there are no loopholes.”
Social development spokesman Mzukisi Solani, who would also not be drawn on the terms of the order from the court keeping the mother and her child apart, said the department would be keeping a close eye on the outcome of the investigation to see that the best interests of the child are met.
“Now that the court is involved we will respect the procedures.
“We will keep abreast of the investigation while awaiting the outcome. We believe the court will act in the best interests of the child,” he said. — firstname.lastname@example.org
By Nonsindiso Qwabe – DispatchLIVE
Source: TMG Digital