Double blow for minister’s nephew in custody battle

2013-04-03 15:30

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Minister Lulu Xingwana’s nephew received a double blow when both the Mthatha and the North Gauteng high courts ordered that he return a minor child to her mother with immediate effect.

The case made headlines after Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana, her nephew – the father of the two-year-old girl – along with a relative, two bodyguards and escorted by three policemen, forcefully removed the child from her mother in Mqanduli in the Eastern Cape on February 1.

Earlier, an interim court order was granted in their favour by Judge Zamani Nhlangulela, despite the mother not being represented in court on the day.

But today, Mthatha High Court Judge Buyiswa Majiki found in the mother’s favour.

She ordered that the child be returned to her mother immediately and for Xingwana’s nephew to cover all costs, including for the travel arrangements of the child from Pretoria to Mqanduli.

This comes a day after the North Gauteng High Court made a similar order following an urgent application yesterday afternoon.

That court also ruled the child be “returned to first respondent (the mother) on or before tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 o’clock when the matter is before the (Mthatha) High Court.”

Majiki had earlier dismissed an application by the lawyer representing Xingwana’s nephew that she recuse herself, because she had been biased.

After hearing arguments from both parties’ lawyers, the judge dismissed Immerman’s application, with costs.

The child had been staying in Pretoria under the minister’s roof since being separated from her mother on February 1.

The minor child was not present in court today.

Xingwana’s nephew and the 27-year-old Mqanduli mother have been involved in a bitter battle for the child’s custody after their relationship ended amid allegations of abuse.

In February, the mother, who lived in Pretoria and worked as a cleaner in Xingwana’s ministerial home, told City Press how she had been subjected to months of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of Xingwana’s nephew.

She also accused the minister of not taking action despite knowing about the repeated abuses.

The minister dismissed the accusations and encouraged the woman to report the matter to the police.

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