Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

Mothers who are owed maintenance could find themselves waiting longer for their payouts, especially in Western Cape where every maintenance court investigator has more than 11000 cases in his books.

After the courts process an application for maintenance, investigators search for people who refuse to pay up and issue them with subpoenas if necessary.

The Department of Justice told Parliament yesterday that in Gauteng and Eastern Cape every maintenance court investigator handles more than 6000 cases.

But on average nationally, there is only one maintenance investigator for every 3000 cases.

Legal Resources Centre attorney Chantelle Fortuin said: "The system is already very clogged up.

"The fact that there are not enough maintenance court investigators will make the problem worse."

Cosatu's Tony Ehrenreich said: "It is a scandal that the government is not putting resources into maintenance courts because it seems that millions of rands are spent on the court proceedings of rich people, while there are no funds to secure the rights of the poor.

"These payments are essential to keep children out of poverty."

The justice ministry did not reply to messages left by Sowetan.