In KwaZulu-Natal problems with maintenance payments occur most often in the rural areas.
Community workers blame inadequate systems and structures, as well as the old bugbear of staff shortages for delayed maintenance payments and other problems.
"We have had instances where monies have not been paid out to beneficiaries and several cases where maintenance clerks have been discharged from their duties because of theft," said one social worker.
Justice department head Brigitte Shabalala said civil servants had been dismissed for corruption over maintenance payouts as well as bail and fine payments. She could not say how many officials had been fired.
She said the recent non-payment problems were usually caused by employers not furnishing a schedule for the payments and the power outages.
"You could have an employer making a lump sum electronic deposit of R20000. With no payment schedule it is difficult to assess the breakdown of payments to each beneficiary."
She said funds paid into the department account were difficult to access because computers were slow or out of order because of power cuts.