Our expert says:
Family law expert
Unfortunately there is nothing in our common law that indicate that "anyone" has a right of access to a minor child other than the the child's natural parents.
The High Court's powers, as upper guardian of minor children, are not unlimited and it can't interfere with a decision made by the guardian of a child merely because it disagrees with that decision. Our courts have always been reluctant to interfere with the parental authority except in special circumstances. Decisions as to who a child should have contact with remain in the hands of the person or persons vested with parental authority, in this case the father.
Any judicial intervention in a family might have unsettling effects on the dynamics of that family setup, which might in turn affect the welfare and interests of the child in question.
Having said that, the current common law position is that any third party is entitled to approach the court to have the right of access granted to him or her, provided that such right is in the best interests of the child. The court can then refer parties to mediation by mediators, alternatively appointed by the Office of the Family Advocate, see, Townsend-Turner and Another v. Morrow 2004 (2) SA 32 (CPD).
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