Authorities coming for youngster upkeep defaulters

By Norman Cloete 2h ago

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Johannesburg – Debtors will soon be unable to hide. The Department of Justice and Correctional Services will soon use registered cell phone and phone numbers, company registrations, credit profiles, court judgments, property purchases, sales and transfers, and vehicle regulations to track down child reluctants.

The government believes this will reduce reliance on social allowances.

But the women struggling with livelihood arrears say they have very little faith in the latest announcement.

Justice Department spokesman Stephans Mahlangu said the ministry will unlock data sources to track the whereabouts of people investigating maintenance cases and enforcing other related enforcement orders.

“After the amended Maintenance Act was introduced, the department launched a communication campaign and people were informed of the new delinquent tracing laws through radio, television, contact programs and briefing sessions, and social media. The project is not ambitious and overdue. In this phase, the department tries to improve the existing system. “

The system can list all inquiries made to a debtor or beneficiary, including information about the person who made the request and that made by courts.

Investigators are expected to use consumer law data showing the debtor or beneficiary or the financial standing and viability of their business.

Mahlangu said the department has controls to ensure compliance with the POPI law.

“Only designated officers are trained and given access to the system. The use of the system is also monitored weekly by the managers of the designated officers and there is no unauthorized use of the system.”

Mahlangu stressed that the proposed system will be secure and will protect information from the intrusion of unscrupulous third parties and unauthorized users, allowing the department to monitor usage and trace it back to an unauthorized user.

Tracing is expected to be available in approximately 600 local courts and regional offices of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development across the country.

But the announcement offers little comfort to Sarah Smith (not her real name), who has been struggling for six years to get R143,000 in child maintenance arrears from her ex-husband.

“I hope the department’s last step can work, though nothing prevents them from changing their numbers – it will only work if it’s a contract cell number. Use my ex as an example. We’ve been divorced since 2015 and he’s changed his number three times, ”she said.

Smith is part of a Facebook group, Child Support – Maintenance Issue – SA, which has 30,247 members and all complains about the same challenges in raising child support.

Smith said she needed to get off work to follow up her case: “She has to go to court on a Tuesday to see the maintenance officer and sit there all day to get information about your case or track a payment . He delayed the maintenance contract from the start and did not comply with anything that was stipulated in the divorce contract. Also, the turnaround time for filing a complaint and getting results is very poor. “

In Smith’s case, her ex-husband ended up in jail for late payment, was released and signed a new court order for reduced alimony.

“I’m still waiting for results in getting an excellent maintenance of over 100,000 R – he gets away with it and lives life. I think they (maintenance court) are inundated with the same problems and don’t have the manpower to deal with the matter in an efficient manner. My file also mysteriously disappeared, and after writing to the KZN Justice Department, it was miraculously found the next day – it’s just a constant struggle from this side with no real help. “Said the frustrated mother of two.

Smith, the breadwinner in her family, said that after her file was lost, she had to start the process over.

“Back to the first point – it takes a long time and it’s frustrating. The problem is, he can pay it off as if it were a retail account – those expenses were paid long ago – there is no system that obliges him to pay the arrears e.g. B. Immediately force a loan to pay the entire amount once and for all and close the matter, “she said.

The department currently deals with more than 3000 standard cases. The number has increased slightly due to the challenges related to Covid-19 as many people lost their jobs in 2020. However, the department said that 80% of people who were contracted for work pay regularly.

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