When President Ramaphosa announced the initial three-week national lockdown as a way to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus, he inadvertently separated families.
Many children across South Africa live in or travel to different provinces for reasons that include shared custody in separated families, and holiday visits to grandparents, among others.
As the lockdown dragged on, children and parents have become increasingly anxious about when they might be reunited.
At the 29 April briefing by cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, it was revealed that from 1 May the movement of children between co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights or a caregiver between different metropolitan areas, district municipalities or provinces is allowed.
This is on condition that the person holding parental responsibilities and rights or the caregiver is in possession of a permit issued by a Magistrate.
We spoke to Deborah Di Siena of Di Siena Attorneys to find out what exactly this means for parents.
"You will need to produce a court order or a parental responsibilities and rights agreement or a parenting plan registered with the family advocate," she told Parent24.
If there is no court order or parenting plan in place, she explained, the Regulations further provide that any child who was not at the residence of their primary caregiver before the lockdown period and who could not travel between provinces, metropolitan and district areas during the lockdown, will now be permitted.
This is on a once-off basis, and allows the child/ren to return to the residence of their primary caregiver - if you are in possession of a permit issued by a Magistrate.
"The Magistrate will only issue a permit if you can provide a birth certificate (original or certified copy) and written reasons why the movement of the child is necessary," she added.
So, if you have these documents available, you can immediately approach the Magistrate’s Court in the area in which you reside and apply for the permit in order to move children between provinces.
"Needless to say, the regulations clearly provide that the household to which the child has to move must be free of Covid-19," Di Siena stressed.
Prior to this update, the only way to get permission to go and fetch your children was to approach the High Court of South Africa for a court order, which was an expensive and risky process.
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