In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
Thousands of desperate mothers waiting at the Mamelodi magistrate's court for maintenance payments yesterday were told to trek to the Pretoria North maintenance court.
Many had not received payments for months.
The Justice Department's maintenance payment system is a shambles from one corner of South Africa to the other.
Officials blame their problems on staff shortages, computer problems and even Eskom's power outages.
Anxious mothers fear that bureaucrats were purloining their pitiful payments.
The Mamelodi mothers, some of whom had not been paid in months, started queuing shortly after daybreak.
The cries of babies strapped to their guardians' backs punctuated the hum of anxiety until officials appeared.
The waiting beneficiaries were fed the old line: no maintenance payouts could be made because of staff shortages and computer failures.
Grace Selaole has heard it all before. Her two children have been forced to drop out of school this year because there is no money at home.
Selaole, a single parent, said the mothers were given an assortment of excuses whenever they tried to collect child maintenance payments at the Mamelodi court.
The money is always deducted from fathers' accounts by stop order and is paid into the maintenance court account.
But cash-strapped mothers like Selaole, 43, will often receive payment only two or more months later.
"This is frustrating, especially in January when we have to pay school fees and transport costs. The last time I received the money was in November and that was only after I kicked up a storm.
"At the Mamelodi court they point fingers at the Pretoria North court, and there they blame Mamelodi," she said.
Johanna Mashaba, 46, of Mamelodi East, has lost hope. She no longer bothers to check if her money has been deposited. She said when she does get the payout, it was often R100 or R200 short.
"First we struggle to get the fathers to pay up, then we have to struggle to get the monthly payout from the courts.
"I don't understand how you get a portion of the money when the courts receive a full payment through a stop order. The Justice Department must urgently intervene," Mashaba said.
A maintenance court official at the Pretoria North magistrate's court, who introduced herself only as Sarah, said the mothers had no reason to complain because they had been told there was a backlog.
"We are short-staffed and we are struggling with the new payment system. I don't understand why people from Mamelodi have to be sent here because Mamelodi handles its own payments," she said.
Sarah could not explain why the mothers had been sent to Pretoria North or why some were paid monies in dribs and drabs.