Pretoria - A multi-millionaire granny who controls her children through her fortunes got more than she bargained after she sought urgent help through the court to see her 8-year-old granddaughter.
The elderly woman, only identified as R in a Joburg high court judgment, demanded that the court immediately listen to her case as it involved a child.
She wanted to see the child every second weekend and speak to her on the phone “at reasonable times”.
In addition, she also wanted an expert to determine whether the child was at risk of suffering from “alienation syndrome” because she could not see her granny whenever she wanted to.
According to the grandmother, she and the child had a special bond and it would be detrimental for the youngster not to see her on a regular basis.
The woman ran to court for urgent access to the child only 26 days after they had last seen each other.
In his ruling, Judge Roland Sutherland said he did not need to make a finding on whether the granny used her wealth to control her family.
Nonetheless, he did find her 41-page affidavit in which she demanded a hearing to be an “arrogant abuse of the court process”.
This, he said, was especially so as the child's mother, R's daughter-in-law, was a good mother who cared for her child.
“I read the founding affidavit (the document in which the granny set out her side of the story) to be reflective of a highly narcissistic perception of the world in which it is R's subjective needs that are being pandered to,” the judge said.
The granny said she needed “liberal rights” to the child and it was unacceptable to her that she could not see her every second weekend.
In reply to her demand the judge had to urgently hear her matter as a child was involved, the judge said that this statement in the absence of any allegation that the child was not cared for, was an abuse of the legal system.
The child's parents were divorced after R obtained a court order to commit her son to a drug rehabilitation centre. The child's mother got sole custody.
The judge said the context in which the granny was making her demands, was significant. He said she was obviously a wealthy woman as she had spent millions on her son and his family.
She told the court he owed her R12 million. At the time of this urgent application, she was embroiled in a barrage of litigation against her son and his now former wife.
It, among others, related to her attempts to have his business liquidated and his wife sequestrated.
The granny also admitted that she had her son arrested for drug abuse and that she had obtained an order to commit him to a rehabilitation centre.
Her daughter-in-law said R also had her arrested on trumped-up charges of fraud. To make matters worse, the granny also initiated court proceedings regarding the parents’ matrimonial home. The house is in a trust and the grandmother tried to get the assets frozen.
S, the child's mother, said in light of all of this she did not feel comfortable for the woman to simply have access to the child whenever she felt like it.
The mother said all this litigation was part of R's obsessive need to control people. She said she used her money to get her way.
Judge Sutherland slapped the woman with a punitive costs order for her abuse of the legal system to suit her own needs.