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Pay maintenance or you will be blacklisted

Written by Noluthando Mkhize
Parents who don’t pay child maintenance, no longer have a place to hide. President Jacob Zuma recently signed the Maintenance Amendment Act (Act no. 9 of 2015) into law that will ensure that those who default on maintenance payments are blacklisted.

Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffery said the Act allows for the reporting of a maintenance defaulter to a credit granting or credit rating business as well as for the attachment salaries or profits from employer.

The amendment of the Maintenance Act, 1998 has been a major priority of the department and aims at further improving the maintenance system.

“The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has over the past two decades been committed to ensuring the protection of children in our society.

“One of the areas which has a profound impact on the lives of children is that of maintenance,” said Deputy Minister Jeffery.

He added that the Maintenance Amendment Act  amends the Maintenance Act, 1998 (Act No. 9 of 1998) to improve the maintenance system, pending the finalisation of a review of the main Act by the South African Law Reform Commission.

The new Act should not be viewed in isolation he said, as it is part of a wider range of measures, introduced by the department, to bring about real change in service delivery to maintenance beneficiaries.

“These measures have been put in place specifically to ensure that women indeed have better access to justice and access to our courts.”

Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) system

Deputy Minister Jeffery said the EFT system has improved how maintenance is

paid. The system allows victims to get their money within four days after the department has received the payment.

“Through the EFT system, the department now transfers monies directly into the beneficiaries’ bank accounts.”

“This saves beneficiaries time and money travelling to court to collect these monies. It is also safer. At present, 98 per cent of the beneficiaries are on the EFT system.”

He said those who are not on the EFT system as yet are mostly non-nationals or persons who do not have ID documents required by banking institutions to open a bank account.

The department is continually engaging with the Department of Home Affairs and banking institutions to assist these clients.

“With the direct payment system the court orders, upon consent of the beneficiary, the respondent to deposit maintenance monies directly into the bank account of the beneficiary.”

Maintenance Integrated Case Management

Minister Jeffery said his department had introduced the Maintenance Integrated Case Management System that keeps track of the cases from the registration of the maintenance application to the issuing of the maintenance order.

“This leads to faster delivery of maintenance services as most of the paper work that courts were doing manually is now done electronically.

“Every financial year the department progressively appoints maintenance officers and maintenance investigators to improve service delivery.”

According to the minister, in the past four financial years, the department has increased the human capacity in maintenance services by employing 247 people.

In 2015/2016, additional maintenance officers and investigators will be employed.

The aim is to ensure the provision of adequate human capacity at every service point so as to improve the maintenance system

nationwide.

For more information on maintenance
contact Advocate Mulalo Netshisaulu
at 012 315 1512 or
MNetshisaulu@justice.gov.za.

Child maintenance check list
(1) what the applicant needs to bring to the maintenance office at the magistrates’ court when making an application for child maintenance:
(2) note: bring the following documentation to the maintenance office to make copies and if these
are not available on the date of application please bring the documents on the next day and/or on the hearing date.
(3) unavailability of the documents on the date of application for maintenance should not stop the applicant from completing the j101 application (form a to the maintenance regulation), which is attached to this check list as annexture “b1”.

Documents required for maintenance enquiry/mediation              Please tick off

1. An identity book (green book with your photo) or passport or drivers licence and or immigration permit
2. Certified copies of the child/children’s birth certificates
3. Three months bank statement (LATEST)
4. Three months proof of income(payslip) or the signed letter from the employer confirming your income.
5. Physical/work address of the person responsible for paying the maintenance money.
6. List of your income and expenditure e.g. water and lights bill, till slips for groceries, school expenses; medical and travel receipts, clothing accounts, etc.,
7. Full name of parent/person responsible for paying the maintenance money.
8. Copy of Decree of Divorce (in the case of divorce)

After the tick off on the checklist then maintenance supervisor should add his/her signature and date, to ensure all necessary documents will be available

Maintenance supervisor

Signature: ..................................................................................
Date: .........................................................................................

 

What the respondent needs to bring to court when appearing before the maintenance officer for enquiry/mediation

The respondent is require to bring all the required documents on the date of enquiry:

Documents required for maintenance enquiry/mediation                           Please tick off

1. An identity book (green book with your photo) or passport or drivers licence and or immigration permit
2. Three months bank statement (Latest)
3. Three months proof of income(payslip) or the signed letter from the employer confirming your income
4. Proof of physical work and residential address
5. List of your expenditure e.g. water and lights bill, till slips for groceries, school expenses; medical and travel receipts, clothing accounts, etc.,
6. Provide the copy of the maintenance court order if there is a maintenance court order against you in another court
7. Birth certificates of all your other biological children other than children in question

 

NB: the matter will not be postponed because of lack of the above- mentioned documents,
so it is compulsory that the maintenance officer /clerk explain that the parties should
comply with the requirements on the return date.

 

 

 

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