An Mbombela businessperson faces a month in jail unless she allows her former husband free access to their two children.
The 34-year-old woman’s former husband took her to court after battling for months to get access to his children and fearing that she might never allow them to see him again.
Acting Judge Dennis Davis sentenced the woman to 30 days imprisonment for contempt of court, but suspended her sentence on condition that she allowed her former husband unhindered, un restricted and unsupervised contact with removal rights in terms of a settlement reached in their divorce proceedings.
She was also ordered to submit herself and her children, along with her former husband, for evaluation by a psychologist and a social worker for the period required to re-establish the relationship between the father and his children.
An advocate was also appointed as the children’s legal representative to consult with them, their mother and her new partner regarding the best interests of the children and to report back to the court. In addition, the court granted a punitive costs order against the mother.
Her former husband said in court papers she had systematically frustrated his contact and removal rights in terms of a settlement agreement in their divorce action that was confirmed as a court order.
He had the right to phone his children every day and to see them on certain weekends, school holidays and on Father’s Day, but he said his former wife had one excuse after another for why he could not see them.
Last year, he lost over R11 000 after booking and paying for a weekend away with his children, only for his former wife to refuse him access to them. She later informed him via a text message that his children did not want to see him and “hated” him.
He said it appeared that she had blocked his telephone calls and text messages to his children. He feared she was alienating him from them and indoctrinating them against him and that she would ensure that he never saw or spoke to them again.
He said all attempts to reach an amicable agreement with her had come to nought and he had no other choice than to take drastic legal action against her.