A father who for seven years believed his newborn baby died after birth is fighting to have the custody of his son.
Thapelo*, 33, from Rustenburg in the North West learnt with shock three years ago that his son was secretly given to someone else to raise soon after birth.
He is now waging a legal battle in the Rustenburg district children's court sitting in Tlhabane to get his custody rights restored.
The man, an apprenticeship student for a construction company, said after his son was born at Job Tshomankane Hospital in Tlhabane in 2009, his then 17-year-old ex-girlfriend told him the infant died during birth.
The couple were living separately and Thapelo was not present in hospital when his son was born.
But in 2016 it emerged that a woman now aged 60, a family friend of his ex-girlfriend, had been raising his son as hers and also registered him as her biological child with home affairs. This, Thapelo said, was first brought to his attention by a relative of the 60-year-old woman.
Thapelo suspects that money may have changed hands in a secret transaction that only a few people knew about.
Thapelo reported the matter to police in February 2016 after finding out about his child.
The matter was then referred to the children's court.
In a report by a family counsellor and an advocate presented to the court, the mother said she did not know where the child was.
She claimed to have left her son in hospital after birth.
The report stated that the date on the child's birth certificate was wrong, and this was pointed out by the father.