SA man desperate to get kids back home

2012-03-15 14:52

Cape Town - French authorities apparently refused to meet with a South African man on Wednesday who is desperately trying to get his children home, EWN reported.

Steven Swanepoel's ex-wife took his two children, Isabelle Michaela and André Stephen, to France on holiday in 2007.

The mother, Charlotte de Montby Isenschmid, never returned to South Africa with the children.

Despite an order from the highest French court, the children remained in France with their mother.

Swanepoel's legal representative from Schindlers Attorneys, Megan Harrington-Johnson, said it was now up to Pretoria to intervene.

“They’re in contravention of the court order and in contravention of the Hague Convention itself, so we’re trying everything we can to get some sort of pressure exerted.

“The South African government needs to pressurise the French government into complying with the convention.”

According to a 2009 Die Burger report, Swanepoel feared that de Montby Isenschmid might have gone to Switzerland with the children as they all have Swiss passports.

In the Die Burger article, Swanepoel was quoted as saying: “That day at the airport in Johannesburg, my little girl cried terribly and screamed and fought.

“I was still carrying her; she didn’t want her mother to take her away from me. It’s as if the child suspected something.”

The justice ministry’s Tlali Tlali was not available for comment.

- Are you in a similar situation or know someone who is? Send us your story

  • Marion - 2012-03-15 14:55

    Swizz passports ???

      Bonjo - 2012-03-15 15:03

      Excuzze the typo ;)

      Adél - 2012-03-15 16:11

      I have found soooo many spelling and grammar errors here, it's not even funny!! So I think the second alternative is the truth!

      Tanie - 2012-03-15 19:20


  • natasha.fukuchi - 2012-03-15 15:02

    LOL @Swizz.... But very sad for the dad that he hasn't seen his children for so long...

      Marion - 2012-03-15 15:05

      I hate it when people drag their kids into the war zone of their divorce. Even if they hate each other, they both love the kids and vice versa. Kids should come first at all times.

      skootzie - 2012-03-16 08:12

      Many use the children to hurt the other person. Mother: "What is the best way to hurt this bastard? I know, take his children away from him!" Or visa versa. It's sad :(

  • Gemma-Leigh Evans - 2012-03-15 15:10

    I feel for the father I do, but as a mother myself, I can't help but wonder if there's a story behind the story. If he's a decent father with upstanding principles and never agreed to his kids leaving the country, then I agree, everything must be done to return his kids back to him. It's not fair on the children or him.

      Marion - 2012-03-15 15:12

      In every divorce there are three sides to the story. His, hers and the truth. However, if there was a story behind the story do you think the highest court in France would have said the children should be returned to South Africa?

      Marion - 2012-03-15 15:31

      Andrew - I really feel sorry for fathers when it comes to divorce and abortion. They get the short end of the stick most of the time. Agree with you that they should have equal access. Also, the mother is not automatically the parent best suited to have custody of the children. It is tragic that children have become pawns in divorce and I am sure everyone commenting on this page will have seen that scenario more than once.

  • Sobabedhuffy - 2012-03-15 15:11

    ...nothing like zpell check ! DYAC ??

  • Sobabedhuffy - 2012-03-15 15:11

    ...nothing quite like putting your zpell check on before pushing "zend" .... or perhaps a DYAC moment ?

  • Chris - 2012-03-15 15:19

    According to all the reports, he agreed for her to take the children on holiday. Not move them to another country. She should be chucked in jail and the children returned to their dad. Sad part is, I don't think the little ones would really even know him anymore. She has done damage beyond belief to both the kids and parents. Mostly the father.

  • Neels - 2012-03-15 15:37

    Same thing happens locally to fathers. Check out Section35 website.

  • Pierre - 2012-03-15 15:45

    This is getting ridiculous.

  • WotzisName - 2012-03-15 15:45

    Cruel, evil, heartless woman! I hope this man gets his kids back and gets permanent custody of them! Women like that don't deserve to be mothers, I hope she gets made to suffer the way this father has suffered.

  • nsda29 - 2012-03-15 15:52

    Thats Kidnapping!

  • mark.blanckenberg - 2012-03-15 15:53

    Can't believe our government hasn't done anything. Sacre bleu!

      Nigel - 2012-03-15 16:04

      they are white

  • morgane.lecluse - 2012-03-15 16:00

    Both parents should have the right to see their children.

  • Nigel - 2012-03-15 16:04

    what is a Swizz passport?

      Tanie - 2012-03-15 19:22

      A sweet rolled passport like a swizz-roll.

  • nicojlouw - 2012-03-15 16:20

    Dear readers. This is NOT uncommon !! I am the founder of the Section35 website and also one of the applicants in the class action against the Minister of Justice, the Office of the Family Advocate and others (case nr 7003/12) Please support us and the children of South Africa by visiting our website.

      Marion - 2012-03-15 16:31

      @nicojlouw - would have made it easier if you had given the link. :-)))

  • Mark - 2012-03-15 16:30

    now I am at a loss..if the mother is Swiss why get a court order in France ??? I agree with adel..let's get the truth on this one first.

      Mike - 2012-03-15 18:06

      Because they are in FRANCE!!

      Megan - 2012-03-16 09:55

      Mark the mother has ties to both Switzerland and France, but they were taken to, and are currently living in France.

  • Nadia.Thonnard - 2012-03-15 16:57

    Every behaviour has a positive intention, unfortunately some behaviours are inappropriate and when it comes to divorce and children it is of utmost importance that parents realise that their behaviours can greatly hurt their children. I am the founder of SADSA|The South African Divorce Support Association and I facilitate a Child Centered Divorce approach. There are always solutions, even when a foreign parent wants to go back overseas but this sounds like a case of parental alienation which is first and foremost child abuse. For any further queries look up SADSA - -

  • Imvubu - 2012-03-16 00:53

    I have read all the comments about those kids. Only Marion and Andrew seem to be level headed with their few. Has anyone found out from the KIDS how they are and how they are feeling today about returning to SA ???. The moaners about incorrect spelling are a bunch of MORONS!!!!!

  • Anne - 2012-03-16 06:08

    No child should be separated from the other parent, it just happens too often in this country that the mothers think the kids are their possessions to make decisions on behalf of their children. A child needs a father and a mother. Why must there always be a sinister reasons why the father is not seeing their kids, I don't see anybody asking if the mother might be the unbalanced one. There are bad fathers but just as you get bad mothers.

  • Megan - 2012-03-16 09:44

    the bottom line here is that these children were abducted (taking cjildren away from a parent without that parent's permission is a crime) a court order has been obtained and confirmed 3 times that says the children must be returned to SA (where it will be decided by the SA courts and Family Advocate where it would be in their best interests to reside). If a country is not going to uphold a convention then why sign it? That is at the heart of this matter. International instruments such as the hague Convention are there for a reason and in this case, ebverything has been done by the book in as far as obtaining the Court Order was concerned. The French are now blatantly disregarding it. The SA Government must intervene.

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