A father’s cry for his baby

Sharon Mathala

“I can’t be denied access to a child I look after”

Kgotso Mpenya (27) met the mother of his now one-year-four months old baby on Facebook in April 2019

The relationship began with a whirlwind romance and 14 months later, a child was born.

Things however went wrong as fast as the relationship had blossomed and the two young parents found themselves embroiled in a bitter maintenance battle in court.

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Mpenya called The Voice reporters to his home recently to share his traumatic story of what he described as a deliberate ploy by his baby mother to keep his child away from him.

The young father has been ordered by the court to pay pay P 1,000 monthly maintenance fee but his biggest worry is that part of the judgment stipulates that he should be in the company of a police officer when he visits the child.

“I was never aggressive to anyone. I have my flaws yes, but I never hit anyone. And secondly, both mother and child are staying at my mother’s house. Technically I should not be in the same yard with them but how can I accommodate someone at my mother’s and later try to hurt her and my own child?” asked the confused looking Mpenya who feels the judgement was unfair.

Narrating his story, Mpenya said around January 2020 his relationship with the baby mother soured when she started displaying violent behaviour characterised by mood swings which he had at first associated with pregnancy.

Their child was born on June 6, 2020.

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Blaming Covid-19 restrictions on his failure to provide enough financial support for his young family, Mpenya is adamant he tried his best.

“I made sure she moved into my mothers house. She was not paying rent or any bills and I sent money when I could. It wasn’t much, yes because my company was not doing well but I sent money nonetheless,” the young father claimed, adding that he could not meet some of her demands like the P2, 500 monthly allowance.

When the child was about six months old she threatened to him to court and eventually did.

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“We woke up from different beds in the same house and went to court. In court I was not given time and space to express my self, ” he said.

“I feel the Magistrate did not give me the time of day. She asked if I am working and I said yes. She then wanted to know if I accepted that I am the father of the child and I said yes I don’t need any DNA. What breaks my heart the most though is not the money to be honest but the fact that the Magistrate said that for me to visit my own child I have to be accompanied by a Police officer? How did she arrive at a point where I have to be accompanied by an officer?

Asked how he wanted The Voice to help him he said, “Amplify my voice.”

“What If things go bad in the city and I have to return home to my mum’s, will the Police be with me the whole time? The system was not fair on my side. I wouldn’t have invited The Voice if it were all fair. I have every right to see my child. The court should serve in the best interest of the child,”Mpenya lamented.

Adding that he might have to defy the court order if he continued to be denied access to his child.

“I told my mother that I won’t pay for the upkeep of a child I don’t have access to. I can’t be denied access to a child I look after. In fact I am not paying any maintenance until I see that child.” he said in defiance

Both Mpenya’s mother and the mother of his child could not be reached for comments.

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