Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Govt caught up in child adoption row

The Minister of Defence Justice Security Ramadeluka Seretse and the Attorney General were recently forced to convene an emergency meeting in a bid to resolve the controversy surrounding the adoption of a Motswana child by a South African woman.

The South African woman, Deborah Jan Kersten Mey who is a teacher by profession has been embroiled in a marathon legal battle with the biological parents of the minor child Joshua July and Annah Kgopo from Boteti Sub District. The issue was recently the subject of intense discussion at the government enclave.

In a savingram dated 22 August 2014, the deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Halakangwa Mbulai states that a meeting was convened by Seretse and Molokomme to which her Ministry (Local Government) and the Commissioner of Police Keabetswe Makgope were called to respond “to our failure to effect instructions issued by Magistrate Q.L Moanga on the 6th August 2014 at Letlhakane.” The Savingram was addressed to the Senior Council Secretary of Boteti Sub District,Motshwariemang Matseka.

The Minister indicated concern that the courts instructing that the minor child be returned to the care of the applicant who is the adoptive mother within 14 hours of the order had not been complied with, states Mbulai. She added that the “Attorney General pointed out that it was unlawful not to comply with a court order…” At the meeting in question, Molokomme also raised concern on whether the Ministry of Local Government Rural and Development had made a return to the magistrate to indicate compliance or reasons for lack of compliance with the said court order. She indicated that this must be done immediately. “I confirmed that the position of this Ministry is that there must be compliance with court orders,” said Mbulai. She informed Matseka that during their discussion, he informed her that the Magistrate stated in the court order that Council is to leave the minor child with the biological father Joshua July.

“Further to this, you inform me that even if the court order was not to be effected, your office was not in contempt of court because the presiding magistrate indicated that the minor child could be left in the hands of the biological father,” said Mbulai She instructed Matseka to comply with the court order issued by Magistrate Moanga and provide a report giving an account of action taken by your office from the date of receipt of the court order.

Matseka was also instructed to provide a report detailing who was acting as legal counsel representing the Council; including details of who had been appearing in court on behalf of the Sub District Council. Provide a written statement clarifying the justification to leave the minor child in the hands of the biological father. “Finally in an endeavour to bring the matter to conclusion we will share all the information with the office of the Honourable Minister of Defence Justice and Security and the Attorney General,” states Mbulai.

Documents in possession of Sunday Standard detail how on 28 August the Botswana Police from Orapa Police Station namely station Commander Badirwang and social Welfare Workers from Boteti Sub-District Council Mohapa forcefully removed the 6 year minor child from the care of her biological parents. They drove her to Gaborone with strangers over the night; the strangers in turn placed the child in the hands of another stranger, Theresa Pamela Van Nieker.

Sunday Standard also understands that on Friday, the child was accommodated at one of the hotels where police officers guarded her room. BONELA on Friday issued a statement that it had engaged Uyapo attorneys to sue Ramadeluka and Molokomme to stop the forceful removal of the minor child from her biological parents through a glaring fraudulent adoption. At the time of issuing the statement, BONELA said Kersten Mey was relocating with the child to Qatar and accused the Botswana Government of abating child trafficking. BONELA says the adoption which was secured under false pretences was obtained without the biological father’s consent.

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