PREMIER DUCKS DUTY ON MAINTENANCE DODGING DADS

Patricia Mokgohlwa, MPL

DA Gauteng Gender spokeswoman

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane’s response to the DA’s recommendations for bringing maintenance defaulters to book is an insult to women and children across the province.

According to Beeld the Premier, through her spokesperson Xoli Mngambi, indicated that she will not respond to what the DA-led government in the Western Cape is doing to bring defaulting dads to book.

Women from across the province have contacted me to express their unhappiness with the Premier’s response and again highlighted the plight of their children. Many Gauteng women continue to experience problems in claiming maintenance, and maintenance orders are often not enforced. While 1 549 warrants of arrest for maintenance defaulters were issued in the province, the actual arrest rate remains too low.

I will submit a question to the Premier formally asking her to outline the strategy of her government to ensure that maintenance defaulters are brought to book.

The Premier should be doing all she can to respond to the needs of these women and children. Her disregard for the highly successful DA-initiative in the Western Cape reduces the suffering of women and children in Gauteng to an unsavoury political issue. That is unacceptable.

The Premier must now tell us what her government is doing to ensure that the children, and mostly women who care for them, receive the support that is their right.

Last week we recommended that Gauteng:

* Publish the names of all untraced defaulters over the 16 day period (for whom there are warrants of arrest at court and have ID numbers) – so that communities can participate in locating defaulters and securing their appearance in court;

* Publish the names of all beneficiaries still to collect monies owed to them;

* Operate roadblocks using sophisticated tracking technology to net untraced defaulters;

* Trace the beneficiaries of child maintenance through door-to-door searches undertaken by Community Development Workers;

* Undertake a broad based public education and awareness-raising campaign.

The Premier’s insistence that we engage with her through the “right channels” is equally disappointing as the DA has consistently championed the maintenance issue. This included the very successful Operation Etsa Se Nepahetseng (Operation Take Responsibility) that was adopted by the legislature and run throughout the province last year.

We will continue to pursue this issue through all channels available to us.

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