As a result of our President’s recent decision to lockdown the nation for 21 days in an attempt to combat the spread of Covid-19, many parents have raised the question of how they are to exercise contact with their children during this period .
Parents, now is the time to unite and put aside you differences regarding the manner in which you deal with this situation and your children. Children’s wellbeing should be at the forefront of any decision you make!
The regulations gazetted on 25 March 2020 do not prevent children moving between their respective parents. Parents are allowed to exercise contact with their children under reasonable circumstances for example:
If the parents reside within a few kilometers or within the same district of one another, as long as this does not contribute to the spread of the virus, so for example if one parent is working, especially in a high risk situation it would not be advisable.
If there are any passengers in the vehicle, everyone in the vehicle is required to wear a mask. You should ensure that the vehicle in which you travel is sanitized.
In the event that the non-custodial parent does not reside within the same district or within a few kilometers, travel movements will be restricted as set out in the regulations. Any contravention of the regulations will result in a criminal offence and you will be sanctioned with imprisonment alternatively a fine.
Custodial parents should not unreasonably deny the other parent contact with their children. If you do, this could negatively impact you later if your conduct as a parent is reviewed by a court of law.
We appeal to parents to reach consensual decisions regarding the contact of their children during this lockdown. There are many alternatives parents can opt to exercise which do not involve the commuting of their children during this lockdown. Virtual communication such as telephone calls, Skype sessions, whatsapp videocalls and/or any other modes of communication should be used freely.
STAY AT HOME! KEEP YOUR CHILDREN SAFE AT HOME! COMMUNICATION IS KEY!
Please be advised that the Minister may at any time release a directive in this regard and the situation could change so keep your eye out for updates.
Ayesha Sasman is an Associate at De Abreu & Cohen. Should you require any assistance in regard to your child care contracts contact her on ASasman@dacct.co.za.