I know I am supposed to be on a break, but this is such an important issue in South Africa (and all over the world really). Al tough it is not something that affects me directly, I know so many single moms and dads struggling to get by with absolutely no support.
One of nine million children in South Africa grow up with a father or mother, who although alive, is absent from their lives.
That’s over a sixth of the country’s population, and just under half of all children.
The struggle for child support money is shared by millions of single parents trying to raise children their ex-partners abandoned. I am not sure why, as the system is relatively fair… Before ordering maintenance payments, the court investigates what a child’s financial needs are, and how much the absent parent can afford to contribute. The maintenance amount will not be more than the parent can pay, and if his or her financial circumstances change, the court can change the order accordingly. So in retrospect, these people are not unable to pay their maintenance –they are simply unwilling. That makes you a special kind of asshole.
The National Assembly has passed a new law that will see parents who default on child maintenance blacklisted and blocked from getting credit while owing maintenance.
According to the new bill:
• A beneficiary will be able to claim maintenance where they work and not only where they live, which is the current situation. This would make it easier for beneficiaries to go to the maintenance court during working hours.
• If the person from whom the maintenance is sought can’t be traced, the court can grant an order directing electronic communication service providers [cellphone service providers] to give the court contact information of the person who may be affected by the order of the maintenance. This direction may only be used if the court is satisfied that all reasonable efforts to locate the person in question have failed.
• There is a duty being put on maintenance courts to complete their enquiries as speedily as possible. This provision is for interim orders for maintenance pending the finalization of the matter.
• Another provision is that the views of the person who is obliged to pay maintenance must be sought.
• If a person has defaulted on paying maintenance, their personal details would be submitted to the credit bureau. This would prevent maintenance defaulters from continuing to receive credit while owing maintenance.
There has been so much feedback regarding this, some of it very negative. To pay for the maintenance of a child one had a part in bringing into this world is to acknowledge that child’s right to a decent life. Whether you want the kid or not, be responsible for your actions. They are innocent in all of this – you are not.
What do you think about this new law? Do you pay child maintenance? Are you in a situation where the father or mother is refusing to help you support your child? I would love to hear your opinion, please comment below!