A DISTRAUGHT Eastern Cape mother has accused a senior minister in President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet of using her position to “steal” her two-year-old baby from her.
The Mqanduli woman , who is known to the Daily Dispatch but cannot be named to protect the child’s identity, yesterday claimed that Minister of Women, Children and People with Disability Lulu Xingwana stormed into her Upper Ngqwarha home in her state vehicle, her two bodyguards and three policemen and forcefully took away her two-year old daughter.
The baby’s father is one of Xingwana’s nephews.
The couple never married and the woman had previously lived in Xingwana’ s Cape Town and Pretoria residences. She was visited there by the father but left when he became abusive during visits .
“I want my child back. I don’t even understand why she [Minister Xingwana] is involved because this is a matter between me and her nephew alone.
“I was victimised by their son and now I am being abused emotionally and physically by his aunt as well,” said the mother.
Shortly after leaving Xingwana’s Pretoria residence last year the mother claimed she was served with court papers informing her of her ex-boyfriend’s intention to contest custody of the child.
On Friday the father was granted a provisional court order, ordering the child to be taken to Pretoria with immediate effect and placed under the authority of the father.
The mother was ordered to show cause as to why the order should not be granted before March 1 2013.
The mother had been aware the case was set to be heard that morning but did not go to court after her lawyer told her it was not necessary as he would apply for the case to be postponed.
Later that day a convoy of state vehicles arrived at her modest home.
After being served with the provisional order, the mother rushed outside to call family elders – leaving the child in the care of her 50- year-old mother.
On her return, her mother said she had been overpowered and had to watch helplessly as her granddaughter left in Xingwana’s car.
Xingwana’s department is responsible for creating an enabling environment to ensure facilitation of constitutional obligations, policies and legislative frameworks to realise all children’s rights.
Her spokesman Cornelius Monama declined to comment saying he had no knowledge of the incident.
He said he had also tried to contact the minister to verify the story to no avail yesterday.
Attempts to contact the baby’s father were also unsuccessful yesterday. He did not respond to a text message sent to his cellphone by the Dispatch.
Mqanduli police spokesman Major Zamukulungisa Jozana said although he did not have any knowledge of the incident, police were allowed by law to deliver court orders to respondents.
Yesterday the baby’s mother accused Xingwana of abusing her powers and standing in government to manipulate the situation.
“She (the baby) has nothing else to wear; just the clothes she had on. Why do they do that to my child? I asked if we could consult elders and went out to look for my grandfather. But then I was told the minister had taken the baby .”
The baby’s grandmother said her family was prepared to discuss the issue involving custody of the child in a civil manner but the minister and her relatives would have none of it.
“They came here to fight. We pleaded with them that we should first inform the elders in the family but we were manhandled by bodyguards,” said the elderly woman.
The baby’s mother said she first stayed with the Xingwanas in Cape Town in 2011 after the minister got a job for her as a cleaner.
The minister later asked her to move to her residence in Pretoria after the baby fell sick.
She said she had decided to move back to her Mqanduli home because she could no longer stand the beatings from the baby’s father. — email@example.com