Staff Writer 1 August 2019
Businessman Frank Buyanga Sadiqi’s 4-year-old child will not
immediately be transferred from the custody of his biological father
to his mother Chantelle Muteswa, the High Court has ruled.
The ruling, which was made on Wednesday, means that the son Daniel Sadiqi
will stay for now with his dad, in South Africa.
This comes after a hearing was held to consider arguments from both sides
of the custody dispute. Both lawyers for Buyanga and his
estranged wife attended the hearing in which appellant was the mother of
the minor child whose custody was the subject matter of the appeal.
The respondent was Buyanga. The magistrates court sitting on July 20
awarded the custody of the minor child to Buyanga. Dissatisfied with the
order of magistrate Never Gwatidzo, Muteswa approached the High Court
appealing on the grounds the court erred in finding that it was in the
best interests of the four-year-old minor child to be removed from its
mother, and custody be awarded to the father.
But in dismissing the urgent application on Wednesday in a ruling
delivered by Justice Mary Zimba-Dube on behalf of Justice Happias
Zhou, the justice noted that when making a parenting order, the main
consideration of the court was whether the proposed arrangements were in
the best interests of the child.
The judge also rejected contentions that the court erred in law in
finding that this case constituted an exception to the general rule
that mothers are custodians of children born out of wedlock.
Buyanga had queried that Muteswa did not enlighten the court as to the
conditions where the minor child would be staying, the security and health
environment under which the minor child would survive, given that his
estranged wife had been evicted from her Glen Lorne house after the home
was sold by Delta Beverages over an agency debt.
Muteswa then advised that she had found an alternative residence, but
Buyanga told the courts he was concerned “with the conditions of the cited
new premises, that who the owner of the property is, what rights the
mother of the child has regarding the property if any and who else will be
resident at the property.”
Buyanga said he wants to have the new “property properly inspected, we be
furnished with a copy of the lease agreement or document proving
ownership, should such exist.” Muteswa told the court Buyanga “has set
unreasonable, unlawful and unconstitutional demands to inspect the
applicant’s residence for fitness as a prerequisite for the child’s
But Buyanga’s lawyers said in his court papers: “Our client is only
concerned and guided by the best interest of the child and does not
want to subject his child into a situation that could prove damaging
on the child.”
Muteswa has now lodged a complaint against Harare Civil Court
magistrate Gwatidzo to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) for
allegedly “corruptly issuing” an ruling in favour of Buyanga in the
Muteswa wants Zacc to arrest magistrate Gwatidzo for overturning the
decision of another magistrate of similar authority by giving custody to
Buyanga, which sole custody of the minor child was previously granted to
her. She contends the action was in contravention of Section 114 of the
Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act.
“On the basis of that order favourable to him, Mr Sadiqi has detained
my four year old son from me since 21 July 2019 and through Mr
Gwatidzo’s disfavor to me, has put me through the otherwise
unnecessary but expensive need to approach the High Court for the
return of my son in case number HC6037/19 which is now pending before
Accordingly, I request your intervention in the form of an investigation
in this matter,” Muteswa said in her letter to Zacc, adding she also had
difficulties securing help from the police, “in particular police at
Borrowdale Police Station who in the past refused to serve court orders”
The gold and property tycoon has been embroiled in a vicious fight
with his ex-girlfriend over “custody and access rights” to their minor
child Daniel Sadiqi.
This comes as the 31-year-old mother lost custody of the child after
an episode of playing hide and seek with the boy’s travel documents
over the easter holidays – in defiance of a January 2019 court order
allowing to take his child to South Africa (SA). The court has now granted
Buyanga the right to be with the child.
Apart from the custody issue, it seems the parties have also been
fighting about where the young boy should be enrolled, with the
Johannesburg-based businessman insisting that he goes to Ruzawi Primary
School while Muteswa is holding out that he remains at Harare