The Al Jama-ah Party has introduced a private members bill, the Maintenance Amendment Bill 2021, in an effort to seal loopholes in the existing act. Picture: African News Agency(ANA)
The Al Jama-ah Party has introduced a private members bill, the Maintenance Amendment Bill 2021, in an effort to seal loopholes in the existing act. Picture: African News Agency(ANA)

Al Jama-ah Party seeks amendments to seal loopholes in Maintenance Bill

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Nov 30, 2021

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Cape Town - As part of its contribution to the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, the Al Jama-ah Party has introduced a private members bill, the Maintenance Amendment Bill 2021, in an effort to seal loopholes in the existing act.

The proposed amendments include the provision of process and criteria for provisional maintenance and a suggestion that the duration of the provisional maintenance order be until the final determination of the matter or a formal hearing.

Al Jamah’s amendments also propose that provision be made for an application for a garnishee order where the respondent fails to abide by the provisional maintenance order and for the complainant to be entitled to claim allowances for subsistence and travel to and from court.

Party leader Ganief Hendricks said: “Loopholes in the Maintenance Act which adversely affect women and children have been pointed out to us by social justice activists for women and children.

“These include that the system remains in disarray, is slow, ineffective, clogged up and unproductive to enforce rights; also that the maintenance debtors evade their legal duty to maintain dependants with seeming impunity despite maintenance orders.

“There is also a long waiting time at court, which results in claimants losing out on a day’s work and earnings.”

Parents for Equal Education SA founder Vanessa le Roux said: “The system shouldn’t wait till these deadbeat dads are thousands of rand in arrears; they must be arrested by the third month of not paying maintenance. We as women shouldn’t carry that responsibility alone.”

In February, the Justice Department issued a stern warning to those parents who do not honour their obligation of paying child maintenance and said that they would have no place to hide.

Senior legal administration officer Josephine Peta announced a new tracking system which will be using various online databases and “information hubs” to trace maintenance defaulters.

These will enable the courts to finalise more cases and assess the finances of parents who should be paying child support.

“The department will use Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) registrations, cellphone numbers registered with network service providers, information from credit bureaus, vehicle registrations, as well as other paper trails to find maintenance defaulters,” she said.

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