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Mothers face difficulties over child maintenance payouts

By unknown | Feb 01, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Kingdom Mabuza, Ntwaagae Seleka and Tebogo Monama.

Kingdom Mabuza, Ntwaagae Seleka and Tebogo Monama.

Many mothers in Gauteng also face the humiliation of returning empty-handed when they go to maintenance courts to draw funds to feed and educate their children.

This challenge is compounded by non-paying fathers, most mothers complain.

Early this week Department of Justice spokesman Zolile Nqayi said the challenge was largely because fathers were defaulting, rather than glitches in the system.

"In most cases, fathers do not pay the required amount and when mothers come to collect the money they suspect officials of defrauding them," said Nqayi.

He said the system had been automated such that it was almost impossible for officials to temper with it.

"We are looking at introducing a system which will warn mothers about the availability of money. It does not help for a person to travel a long distance, only to find that there are no funds," he said.

But Esther Motaung, 39, of Evaton in the Vaal, said some of her children's monthly maintenance money was allegedly defrauded by employees at the Sebokeng magistrate's court.

Motaung said that in 2002 she did not receive all the payments the father of her two children made.

She said her children's father, Thomas Mbuli, paid R400 a month toward the maintenance of her children, but some of the money never reached her.

"I only received two months' payment that year and the rest was nowhere to be found, even though the money was debited from the father's salary every month," Motaung said.

She said she was sent from pillar to post when she went to enquire about her children's maintenance money.

"It was worse in 2003. I received nothing."

She said she had suffered both emotionally and financially and had resorted to her family for help.

"If it had not been for my family, I don't know what could have happened because we were battling without money," she said.

But since 2004 she has received all her children's monthly payments.

Motaung claims that there is R12400 still due to her and she was assured that this would soon be rectified.

She said an employee who only introduced herself as Pule at the Sebokeng paypoint told her that there had been a problem with her account.

"Pule said my money had been deposited into the wrong account and he would rectify that, but has not," said Motaung.

She thought her problem was near resolution in October last year when another employee promised to give her R4500 of her missing funds.

"I told him that I wanted the money in full, not in halves and nothing has been forthcoming."

Nqayi said employers deducted money from fathers' salaries, but in some instances they do not specify how much goes to a beneficiary.

Pearl Eksteen, 34, and her friend Elizabeth du Plessis, 34, are two of many women who queue at the family court in Market Street in the Johannesburg CBD.

Du Plessis has two sons aged 11 and four, with her ex-boyfriend. The man, who is now married to another woman, was ordered to pay R900 for both children, but does not.

"I had to do a DNA test to prove that he had fathered our last son. I was humiliated. Even though the results proved he is the father, he still refuses to support his children and now owes R7600 of maintenance payments".

The two unemployed women found staff at the court helpful.

"The staff is very helpful, but the fathers of our children just never pay up.

"I wish they could take responsibility for their children."

Eckstein said she went to the maintenance court regularly, hoping that her ex-boyfriend would own up and start paying maintenance for their two-year-old son.

"He has neglected to pay for a year-and- a-half. He also defied the court order."


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