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Maintenance: A key ingredient for raising children

Child maintenance plays an important role in the upbringing of a child. It can also serves as a mechanism for both parents to be actively involved in a child’s affairs.

As a custodian of the Maintenance Act, the Department conducted a maintenance awareness campaign in Mpumalanga, on 11 November, to educate community members around the Tonga area about the significance of maintenance in a child’s life. Legal Admin Officer, Advocate Julia Nkosi said contrary to what most people believe, maintenance is not gender-based. “Even a man can make use of the Maintenance Act, especially when the child’s mother is employed and he is not working,” she explained.

Advocate Nkosi struck the right chord with the elderly when she encouraged grandmothers to seek maintenance instead of using their pension money to take care of their grandchildren.

She dispelled common fallacies about maintenance and shed light about some of the unknown provisions of the Act such as:

Minors
When two minors have a child, the elders from both sides of the family should be responsible for maintenance of the baby. Advocate Nkosi said that in most instances, a girl’s family usually carries the burden of raising a baby and this should not be the case.

Maintenance age limit
Maintenance should be paid until the child is self-reliant.

Legal Action

  • Parents who default on child maintenance can be blacklisted and blocked from getting credit while owing maintenance.
  • Sheriff may repossess household’s goods in the event that maintenance is not paid, the goods will be sold and proceedings will be used to pay for maintenance.

Since partnership is key for the Department to carry out its mandate, various stakeholders of the Department such as the National Prosecuting Authority, Legal Aid South Africa, Public Protector and the South African Police Services were also afforded an opportunity to inform the community about their services and how they interlink with the Department.

Closing the event, Principal Family Advocate Bikiwe Mkhize told the community about her office’s mandate which is mainly to ensure that children grow up in a loving and responsible environment. “We help children to be raised in the best environment, regardless of their parent’s financial standing.”

Department conducted a maintenance awareness campaign in Mpumalanga

By: Rodgers Ndhlovu
Published: 18 Nov 2016