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In terms of section 28 of the Children’s Act a court can grant an order suspending any or all of a person’s parental responsibilities and rights for a period; can completely terminate any or all parental responsibilities and rights; and can grant an order that circumscribes or limits parental responsibilities and rights.

When considering such an application, the court must take the following factors into account:

·         the child’s best interests;

  • the relationship between the child and the person whose parental responsibilities and rights are being challenged;
  • the degree of commitment that the person has shown towards the child; and
  • any other fact that should, in the court’s opinion, be taken into account.

According to the Act, people who may bring such an application include:

  • co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child;
  • anyone with sufficient interest in the care, protection, well-being or development of the child;
  • the child, acting with the leave of the court;
  • anyone acting in the child’s best interests, and acting with the leave of the court; or
  • a family advocate or representative of an interested organ of state.

An application in terms of s 28 is a drastic measure and should not be brought frivolously or maliciously by any party. This is the reason why a court will be slow in granting such an application, as it may be abused.

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Author – Jessica Gooding

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