Maintenance misery for entitled moms

Victor Hlungwani

Victor Hlungwani

A new child maintenance payment system has left desperate Limpopo mothers angry and disappointed.

The women who went to the health and social services department offices in Giyani yesterday to collect their children's maintenance payments were told that the old system had been scrapped.

Department officials told them that no money would be paid until the new system was up and running.

Many of the women complained that they had woken up as early as 4am to travel to Giyani to collect their children's maintenance.

"If the officials knew there was going to be a change in the system then why did they not inform us beforehand?" asked a mother of two children who did not wish to be identified.

She accused the officials of failing all the women, especially those who had travelled long distances, in collecting the money that their estranged husbands had deposited.

Julia Maswanganyi from Phalawubeni village was very angry with the officers.

"I left home without any knowledge of the new system and I don't have money to go back home. The department should have informed us through the radio about the new changes and we would not have bothered coming.

"Now I don't even have transport money to go back home and I have nothing to eat," said Maswanganyi.

Ernest Mkhatshwa, the department's maintenance office manager, said he regretted that the new system had caused the women hardship.

"We really understand the concerns raised by our mothers, but there is nothing we can do to change the situation.

"Things will be back to normal, in fact better, very soon," promised Mkhatshwa.

He said the new system, called the Justice Deposit Account System (JDAS), would minimise backlogs which resulted in some applicants not receiving their money on time.

Mkhatshwa appealed to all the applicants who had been receiving child maintenance payments through the Giyani offices to submit their banking and other details as soon as possible, so that the department could process their applications and make sure that they received their money on time.

Mkhatshwa said that the department hoped that the new system would be up and running from August 17.