Movement of Children During Level 4 National Lockdown

May 14, 2020 | , , , | News

The best interests of the child remain paramount during these unprecedented times and any decisions relating to children should be made with this principle in mind, including decisions regarding contact with children.

Movement Of Children During Level 4 National Lockdown

Parents are urged to place their children’s health, safety and best interests first and not further their own interests at the expense of their child’s interests.

The Minister of Social Development issued amendments to the Regulations relating to movement of children on the 29th of April 2020. In terms of the amendments:

The movement of children between co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights or a caregiver, as defined in section 1(1) of the Children’s Act. 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005), in the same metropolitan area or district municipality is allowed provided that the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights or a caregiver is in possession of-

  1. a Court order; or
  2. a parental responsibilities and rights agreement or parenting plan, registered with the family advocate
  3. a permit issued by a Magistrate which corresponds with Form 3 of Annexure A if the documentation in paragraphs (a) and (b) is not available.

Regulation 17(2)(c) provides that the movement of children between co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights or a caregiver, as defined in section 1(1) of the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005), between different metropolitan areas, district municipalities or provinces is allowed if the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights or a caregiver is in possession of a permit issued by the Magistrate which corresponds with Form 3 of Annexure A.

Regulation 17(3)(c) states that any child who was not at the residence of their primary caregiver before the lockdown period and who could not travel between provinces, metropolitan and district areas during the lockdown will be permitted, on a once-off basis, to return to the residence of their primary caregiver if the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights or a caregiver is in possession of a permit issued by a Magistrate which corresponds with Form 3 of annexure A. The household to which the child has to move, must be COVID-19 free.

Before a Magistrate issues a permit where no parenting plan or court order is in place, he or she must be provided with:

  • a birth certificate or certified copy of a birth certificate of the child or children to prove a legitimate relationship between the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights; and
  • written reasons why the movement of the child is necessary.
  • Before a Magistrate issues a permit referred to in 17(2) or (3), he or she must be provided with:
  • A court order;
  • a parental responsibilities and rights agreement or parenting plan registered with the family advocate or
  • a birth certificate or certified copy of a birth certificate of the child or children to prove a legitimate relationship between the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights; and
  • written reasons why the movement of the child is necessary.

In instances where a child cannot be moved, I encourage that parents maintain regular communication with their child through mediums such as SMS, WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime, Zoom and other available platforms that can be used for communication.

*Disclaimer: This advisory should not be interpreted as legal advice.

Author: Angela Vushe

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