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DA seeks new law for deadbeat dads

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justice scales and books Clyde Robinson

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Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance Women's Network (Dawn) on Wednesday called for new credit laws to crack down on child maintenance defaulters.

Dawn members gathered outside Parliament to announce proposals to combat the problem.

“An estimated nine million children are growing up in South Africa without fathers,” said Dawn leader Denise Robinson.

“From 1996 to 2009, the proportion of living fathers who are absent from their children’s lives increased from 42 percent to 48 percent.”

Robinson wants Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies to introduce the new credit legislation urgently.

The legislation should include provisions to blacklist and limit the credit-worthiness of maintenance defaulters.

Institutions such as the SA Revenue Service, the home affairs department, and banks should assist in enforcing payment.

Dawn also wants the driver's licences, passports, and identity documents of deadbeat dads to be withheld until they settled their maintenance backlogs.

As a last resort, a new law should allow for the bank accounts of maintenance defaulters to be frozen.

“We call on all parties who share our concern for the rights of South Africa’s children to support this legislation should it be tabled in Parliament,” Robinson said.

“If the government fails to do this within a reasonable time period we are also prepared to introduce private member's legislation ourselves.”

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