Cape’s top child support offender collared

Copy of ca p8 Strand Defaulter DONE


The man dubbed the top child maintenance defaulter in the Western Cape appears in the Strand Magistrates Court after he handed himself over to police. Picture: Murray Williams

Cape Town -

A Cape father dubbed “the top child maintenance defaulter in the Western Cape” has been tracked down and forced to appear in court.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in the Western Cape named the 20 top alleged defaulters on child maintenance on December 2, in a campaign named “Operation Isondlo”.

Western Cape Department of Justice head Hishaam Mohamed reported on Tuesday that the employer of one of those named had heard his employee’s name on the radio – as part of the media campaign – and the defaulter had arranged to hand himself in.

This took place on Tuesday morning, at the Strand Magistrate’s Court, when the man took to the dock.

The court heard he owed R223 000 in outstanding maintenance payments and a warrant of arrest had been issued after he failed to appear in court on July 23.

The Justice Department’s Nico Geldenhuys told the court the province had worked closely with the police to apprehend three types of defaulters: those whose warrants of arrest had been sent by courts to the relevant police stations, but were returned to the courts marked “untraceable”; those whose warrants of arrest remained at police stations gathering dust; and those defaulters for whom warrants of arrest had been issued in the first six months of this year.

The man who appeared on Tuesday was among the latter, the court heard.

The court heard that a Somerset West police detective had tried in vain to locate the defaulter, until the radio campaign had named him.

The defaulter’s attorney, JP Joubert, told the court that his client had not known he was meant to appear in court on July 23, as he had phoned the court the previous day to advise that he would not contest an interim order, granted on April 23.

This order had prescribed that the father pay R500 a fortnight for each child, another R500 every fortnight towards the R223 000 arrears, and half their school fees and medical bills.

The court heard that the defaulter had been due to appear on July 23 for the order to be made formal, but he had not shown up.

He had also not paid the monies prescribed by the interim order. The defaulter was found guilty of contempt of court and given a suspended sentence of a R1 500 fine, or three months behind bars, suspended for four years on condition that he not repeat the offence. He was also ordered to pay his ex-wife R10 000 immediately, before he would be released.

A formal maintenance hearing would be held on December 17.

Mohammed reported: “To date, since December 2 we have with the help of Police Search Operations been able to trace and arrest 39 of the 296 alleged maintenance defaulters.”

Tuesday’s appearance by the “top defaulter” coincided with the final day of the “16 days of activism”.

Cape Argus

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