A British grandmother whose South African daughter is seriously ill with cancer has obtained an urgent court order to be the sole guardian of her two granddaughters.
Judge Neil Tuchten granted an order in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria late last year appointing the grandmother as sole guardian to her granddaughters, aged 16 and 13.
The order will enable the elderly woman to take her daughter to England for urgent medical treatment. The grandchildren can now accompany them. She said in court papers that her daughter, who lives in Northcliff in Johannesburg, was HIV-positive and had late-stage, terminal cervical cancer.
Her daughter was admitted to South Rand Hospital in October and thereafter moved to Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, where she was diagnosed with cancer. She was discharged at the end of November on the grounds that the hospital could not provide further treatment.
The grandmother said although possible treatment had been proposed, it was not guaranteed because the hospital was clearly reluctant to treat her daughter, so she wanted to take her child to England to ensure she received urgent treatment.
She said her one granddaughter’s biological father could not be traced as he was a suspect in multiple fraud cases and was apparently in hiding. Her other granddaughter’s biological father was unemployed and disabled. He lived in a small flat with his mother and father and was unable to provide or care for her.
Her daughter had been married twice before, but was not married to either of her children’s fathers. Her daughter was born in England, but had remained in South Africa with her father when her parents were divorced. Her father died last year.
She said her daughter’s prognosis was poor and if she passed away before a legal guardian had been appointed for the two children, they would most probably have to go into the foster care system as none of the other parties with an interest in them were able to take over their primary care.
She felt she was in the best position to take care of the children as she had already raised her daughter’s first biological daughter, who was now 28, from the age of six in England.
The grandmother had obtained compassionate leave from her employer, the United Kingdom National Health Service, but said she was expected back at work soon.