Dad in court after 'kidnapping drama'
A father from Middelburg in Mpumalanga appeared in a Pretoria court today on charges of violating a court order following an alleged "kidnapping" that was also followed up on social media over the weekend.
Police spokesperson Capt. Colette Weilbach confirmed to Maroela Media that the man would appear in court today where he would apply for bail. The man's name may not be disclosed to protect the identity of his minor child.
This follows after a photo of the girl was widely distributed on social media on Friday, allegedly kidnapped by her father earlier in the day. Social media users have reported the movements of a white Ford Ranger bakkie in Christiana, Bloemhof and Wolmaransstad areas on social media.
Police said the father and child were on their way to Cape Town when he was later involved in an accident on the N12 near Warrenton in the Northern Cape and was arrested for reckless and negligent driving. It is then that the man and girl were found. Both are unharmed after the accident.
Police spokesperson Capt. Olebogeng Tawana confirmed the accident and that there are charges against the man.
The father has since been transferred from Warrenton to Pretoria and the girl was placed back in her mother's care.
Errol Goetsch started an online petition in support of the father after the father's arrest.
He also argued on social media that the father had not kidnapped the child." A parent cannot kidnap his own child."
This online petition has already been signed by some 3,000 people. Goetsch argues that the father made arrangements beforehand to take the child to her grandparents for the school holidays.
The mother, however, denies that this arrangement has ever made with her. She told Maroela Media that there had been a run-up of events before the weekend's incident. According to the mother, the couple split up in 2016 and a court order regarding the supervision of their daughter was issued.
The mother says the responsibilities of each parent are set out in this court order.
She claims, however, that the father has failed to comply with the conditions of the court order several times.
She claims the man did not return the girl to her more than once after visits.
The mother claimed her ex-husband arrived at her home on Friday and demanded to greet his daughter before she was going on holiday with her mother and stepfather.
According to her, he then ran way with the little girl.
Goetsch denies this and argues the man was entitled to take his daughter to Cape Town this weekend, but the mother then called the police and accused him of kidnapping.
It is not known at this stage whether bail was granted to the father.
“Stop arresting Dad for seeing his daughter” Errol Goetsch petition”
Errol Goetsch started this petition to Head of Office of the Deputy Minister of Justice Mr. Nicholas Maweni (DoJ) and 2 others
Police and courts – stop punishing good dads for obeying the law (#)
P***** B**** is a good man. His friends call him "a teddy bear". In 2018, he started a child protection organisation in Mpumalanga. He knows what it feels like to lose a child. When they divorced, his ex said "I will punish him, he will never see his daughter again".
Dad turned to the JRC for help. In South Africa, mediation is obligatory. Mom had said the child "is traumatised by visits" so we offered a social worker to supervise handovers and assess the child, free. Mom refused. She had moved 2 hours away without consent, obstructing the parenting plan, so we started a mediation group on WhatsApp, with a facilitator, a social worker and a child monitor, also free. Mom exited. She was blocking visits and calls, and badmouthing him to his daughter and professionals, so we offered a free weekend training course on the Children's Act. Mom did not attend.
P***** has a court order. It gives him weekends and half holidays. Today is the start of his weekend and holiday. He told his ex he would take their daughter to Cape Town for Oupa's 70 birthday – they would be by the sea alone together for the first time. She blocked him on WhatsApp. On Friday he fetched his daughter and headed for Cape Town. She called the police. She posted his details on social media and accused him of kidnap. She lied. You can't kidnap your own child.