THE Department of Social Welfare has reportedly taken into custody Kudakwashe Mahachi’s four-year-old son pending the conclusion of the criminal proceedings against the embattled footballer.

Mahachi is facing criminal charges after the alleged scalding of his son while at his house in South Africa.

He is, however, denying any wrong doing and insists that the child left South Africa in good health. But his ex-wife, the mother of the child, Ms Maritha Ndlovu, has accused him of scalding their son with boiling water resulting in him suffering third-degree burns.

It has since emerged that the four-year-old minor was last week taken into custody by officials from the Ministry Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, with sources revealing that this was meant to ensure that he can give an independent testimony in the criminal matter which is pending against Mahachi.

Ms Ndlovu has since engaged lawyers, Coghlan and Welsh challenging the removal of her son from her custody, arguing that the department is denying her access to the child.

This emerged in an urgent chamber application where the lawyers argued that the State has failed to bring the minor child before the children’s court within seven days of such removal in terms of Section 17 of the Children’s Act.

The first respondent in the application is the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare with Mahachi being the second respondent.

“The first respondent has removed the minor child from the Applicant’s custody pending second respondent’s criminal investigation. The grounds for removing the minor child from the Applicant’s custody are that they want the minor child to think independently so that he can give an independent testimony in a criminal matter which is pending against the second respondent and that the first respondent fears for the minor child’s safety in the custody and care of the Applicant,” reads the application.

The lawyers revealed that no cogent reasons were given by the Social Welfare department as to why it fears for the safety of the minor child. They also noted that since removing the minor child from Ms Ndlovu’s custody the department has failed, neglected or refused to take him to Mpilo Hospital for his weekly reviews therefore jeopardising the best interest of the child.

“Additionally, since removing the minor child from the custody of the Applicant, on 29 June 2022, the first respondent has denied the applicant access to the minor child and has refused to furnish the applicant with the details of the minor child’s whereabouts.

It, therefore, follows that first respondent has neglected the child’s best interest which are paramount in every matter concerning the child. The child is entitled to adequate protection by the court hence I am approaching this court as the upper guardian of children. The circumstances under which the child was removed from my custody by the first respondent have no basis at law. The conduct of the first respondent is therefore illegal,” reads the application.

Mahachi, who also saw his contract with a South African club come to an end recently, is expected to appear at the Western Commonage Magistrates court on Wednesday for the criminal case.

sunday mail