Coordinators invite the caregiver and biological father to the centre and mediate in order to obtain payment from the non-paying party. The coordinator explains the legal consequences of not paying, and this usually produces a positive response: in most cases the parties decide on an amount based on what they can afford, and monthly payments start soon afterwards. Clients prefer this system because it is much quicker than court procedures for maintenance, and children benefit because they obtain support faster.Maintenance cartoon

Staff also work through the courts, enforcing payment against employers of defaulting parents where necessary and appropriate. They also track down men who fail to support their families and explain the consequences of not paying.

In 2009, R66,130 was obtained in maintenance for 173 beneficiaries who directly benefit on a recurring basis. This means women and children who have food on the table, clothes and shelter. It means children going to school, and some even able to enter tertiary education.

5% of cases in 2011 (or 309 out of 5662) involved obtaining maintenance.

(Above) CCJ produces flyers with cartoons to explain laws such as the Maintenance Act.

Theresa Thusi, Aug 2010:

Getting a Father’s Support

There was a dispute between parents because the father was not supporting their child. I called them both in for mediation. At first the man was reluctant. I told them about the Maintenance Act and that both parents have an obligation to support the child, and if only one is working then the burden is on that person. He agreed to pay R1000 a month, and he still pays it today to my office, where the mother collects it.Client receiving maintenance

(Left) A client receives maintenance at Ixopo support centre

Dudu Basi, Oct 2008: Mediation leads to Father’s Maintenance

On 20 October 2008 a male client reported that his mentally retarded niece was impregnated by a man who has never supported the child. The child is now 10 years old. I arranged mediation and both parties came.The mediation was successful and the father of the child is now paying R200 a month.

 “The coordinator explained to me all my rights and the children’s rights. Now I know that it is both parents’ responsibility to support their children and that a parent who does not cooperate can be obliged to support his or her children.”

– Respondent in 2009 Impact Study





Sonto Nene, 2008:

Maintenance and School Fees

An unmarried woman aged 36, came to the office to report that her boyfriend, who is employed, is not maintaining his child. The child is attending the local primary school and he boards there, coming home at the weekend. She wants her boyfriend to pay the school and boarding fees but he has refused and said that the child must go to Newcastle High.Maintenance

The boyfriend agreed to come for mediation. Both parties came. I let each tell their side of the story. The boyfriend denied everything that the client said which included the fact that he had only paid maintenance once. They started to argue but I calmed them down.

I advised them about the Maintenance Act that provides that a dependent child has a right to maintenance from both parents.

The boyfriend agreed to pay maintenance and the boarding and school fees. They both agreed to buy clothes for the child and the client said she would pay for transport and other school expenses. They both left the office satisfied with the outcome.

Sibongile Mchunu, May-June 2008:

Difficulties Collecting Maintenance from a Court

(Above) After maintenance mediations, clients pay and collect at the support centres. Both parents have a legal duty to pay maintenance for a dependent child. The amount that each parent must pay is worked out according to each parent's means or income.

An unmarried woman of 42 years and residing at eMakhasi was very upset because she had been collecting maintenance at the court for her 5 children, but since her file had been transferred from Glencoe to Ekuvukeni, she had been chased away by the court officers and told that she has no money. Her boyfriend is employed in Johannesburg and every month he makes sure that he deposits her maintenance money at Nedbank before the 7th of the month for the court to pay her. Maintenance
She was crying when she came to the office because she had no food for her children and she did not want to go home empty-handed as she had told her children that she was going to collect the maintenance and buy food. She said that she knew that her boyfriend had already deposited the money at Nedbank for the court.

I phoned the client’s boyfriend and established that he had deposited the money on 7th May 2008. I explained the problem to him and asked him to fax the deposit slip to me. He did and so and I gave it to the client who went back to the Ekuvukeni court.

The client was very happy when she came back from to court to my office because she received her money. She was very grateful for my intervention and told me that she had not known what to do before I helped her. She went to town to buy food for her children.

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