Gauteng mother loses custody in unique Covid restriction

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A Gauteng magistrate's court granted the estranged father of a toddler temporary custody because the child's mother had tested positive for Covid-19, reports Saturday Star.

Melanie Crawford's son (2) was taken from her because she tested positive for Covid-19. Saturday Star reports that the Booysens Magistrate’s Court upheld an application by the father of the child for temporary custody of the toddler.

The mother said what’s even more baffling was that she had a protection order against her former partner which was granted in April. As of Friday, the parents will share custody and the child will spend one week with each one.

Advocate William Booth warned that the ruling could set a dangerous precedent. He added that many parents tested positive for Covid-19 but no children were removed from their care.

The report notes Crawford tested positive for Covid-19 three weeks ago. She has since had another test and is now in the clear. According to the original court order: ‘Respondent not to have any contact with the child until the next court date as the respondent has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.’

According to Crawford’s lawyer, William Makau, there is no basis in law that could justify the decision of the court. His sentiments are shared by Booth, who said: ‘It is most unusual that an order like this is granted only because the mother is Covid positive and for no other reason, particularly if she had custody.

If the court granted such an odd order, then she must appeal/review it on an urgent basis to the High Court, where I am sure she will succeed.’ Booth added that if a court was to make such drastic inroads into the rights of any parent, a full investigation by a social worker or medical person needed to be undertaken.

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