Throngs of angry women called for the dismantling of a new maintenance payout system after standing in long, winding queues at the Johannesburg family court yesterday.
"Why should our children go hungry because the computers are slow?" lamented some of the women. "Since this new system was installed our children have been suffering."
They claimed that they had not received maintenance payouts for the past two weeks since going to the offices at 15 Market Street.
Notices posted inside the building warn of delays in maintenance payouts "due to the implementation of a new electronic system".
This despite Department of Justice's claim that there were no problems.
Selinah Magashule of Rockville in Soweto said she had been waiting since June 27 to receive her children's maintenance money.
"The office was closed from June 12 to June 20 so that the system could be installed. Even the staff have been complaining about the new system," Magashule said. "They say it is too slow and there is nothing they can do about it."
Department of Justice spokesman Zolile Nqayi said the system was "down for two weeks until last Friday" during the conversion to the new system.
Nqayi said he didn't know of any other problems regarding the new system.
Kgomotso Senyolo of Protea Glen in Soweto said: "If I don't get the money today I don't know how I will get home or feed my child."
Senyolo's monthly payout is R400.
Nomgqibelo Dlamini of Vereeniging said she had been commuting to Johannesburg for the past week, which cost her R60 a day. She gets R600 in maintenance a month.
"Sometimes the office is closed before we have been served and then we have to come back again," Dlamini said: "For the past week I have been told to come back the next day."
Dlamini said her 17-year-old daughter would struggle to get to school if she did not get the money.
Most of the women Sowetan spoke to said they relied on the payouts to feed, clothe and educate their children.
They also complained that they queued for long hours because one official manned the two counters.
Nqayi said: "It's a busy court, it can't have more than one official dealing with payouts."