CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE IS KEY TO ALLEVIATE CHILD MAINTENANCE DEFAULTS

PRESS STATEMENT

Jenny Hartnick

DA Western Cape Spokesperson for Youth, Women and People with disability in the Western Cape Provincial Legislature

In a Standing Committee meeting on Premier, Youth, Gender and People with Disabilities, held on 25 July 2012, the Department of the Premier (DotP) presented the Premier’s Priority Projects to the committee. These projects include: Child Maintenance, Policy on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment, Teenage Pregnancy Prevention, The Empowerment of People with Disabilities (Access Programme) and Anti-Substance Abuse.

The DA supports all these projects, especially since it addresses the province’s main concerns. However, we are deeply disappointed by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s failure to work “Better Together” with the DotP on the Child Maintenance Project. It was revealed that Thandi Mpambo Sibukwana, Human Rights Champion in the office of the Premier, has been in on-going negotiations with the department provincial head, Hishaam Mohamed, for co-operation in the Child Maintenance Project.

The first phase of the project was successfully implemented as part of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Campaign in October 2010. Maintenance defaulters were traced and beneficiaries could access benefits due to them. Various community information workshops were held, where communities were informed on child maintenance. In 2011, the project was taken over by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. Since then, the DOtP’s request for co-operative governance with the Department of Justice has been unsuccessful. To date, the DotP was informed that the go-ahead must come from the national government and that is where the hold-up currently is. The co-operation from Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is essential as they have the list of defaulters and beneficiaries to which the DotP does not have access to without their consent.

It is disheartening that struggling parents have to bear the brunt of uncooperative government systems. The DA will continue to support the DotP in their bid to promote responsible parenting, alleviate poverty and reduce the State’s burden for child maintenance and support. We can only redress, reconcile and deliver if we work “Better Together”.

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