Cape Town, 03.02.2006: DA's Denise Robinson and Western Cape mayoral candidate Helen Zille at the opening of Parliament. Picture Brenton Geach

Cape Town - The DA Women’s Network (DAWN) wants bad parents to be blacklisted.

Western Cape head Denise Robinson called on Trade and Industry minister Rob Davies to start a blacklist for maintenance defaulters just the same as credit offenders.

“Maintenance is an issue that affects so many people,” Robinson said. “You have mothers sitting with families and they really are struggling. Sometimes people can afford to pay, but they don’t. It’s a very unhealthy situation.”

She proposed that parents failing to pay maintenance month after month be refused credit on any purchases, or not be able to renew their driver’s licence and passport without facing the law.

“I know of cases where people have smart new sports cars and are travelling overseas, but not fulfilling their obligation towards the child,” Robinson said. “If they are wasting money on other things, they must be blacklisted.”

There is already an allowance in the credit act which allows for this, according to Robinson, pictured, but it has not yet been implemented.

Linda Xaba, a 43-year-old divorcee from Centurion, is one of those mothers hoping something beneficial comes from the campaign. Xaba said that after her divorce earlier this year, she had not received her monthly payments for her 13-year-old daughter as promised by her ex-husband.

“We were separated since 2007 and our divorce was only finalised in January… my ex-husband paid R1 000 in February, as the court ordered, but hasn’t paid a single cent since then.

“He doesn’t answer my phone calls or the SMSes I send. He doesn’t even answer when my daughter tries to reach out to him. He is running away from his responsibilities.”

Xaba said she found it difficult to survive on the R8 000 she earned monthly as a temp, supporting her two teenage daughters, 16 and 13.

“The cost of living is high and I am trying by all means to support my family. I am renting so I can be close to work and the kids close to school. There are expenses that I have to pay every day. This is how we are living, this is how we survive.”

She expressed her frustration regarding the process of being assisted by maintenance court.

“I don’t feel the need to go to maintenance court because I know how the process works. You sit and wait for long hours… I used to get to the court at 6am only to be helped by noon. We have to sacrifice a whole day of work, spending money to go to town only for the process to take three months, but there is still no solution.

“I hope the government recognises the problem and that they take action. Our kids are suffering.”

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Cape Argus