Minister Masutha hands over child maintenance cheques

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pretoria – For almost 20 years, Hilda Serope has been from court to court, trying to get maintenance for her three children without any success.

However, Serope’s struggles came to an end on Friday, as she was among almost 10 women who received maintenance cheques from Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Advocate Michael Masutha.

She received a cheque of R443 900.

“It has been a struggle and a long process. When I started this fight. My kids were in primary school but I’m only receiving the money now when my kids have already completed their tertiary education and working. I’m just happy that this is finally over,” said a relieved Serope.

Minister Masutha visited the Mamelodi Magistrate’s Court as part of commemorating International Nelson Mandela Day and National Imbizo Focus Week.

He started the day by sitting in at a maintenance enquiry, where he assisted in negotiations, which led to an agreement between a mother and father on the amount of money to be paid for child maintenance.

After the case hearing, Minister Masutha rolled up his sleeves and dedicated his 67 minutes by cleaning the area outside the boardroom of the court.

This was in line with the call by President Jacob Zuma during his State of the Nation Address for citizens to devote 67 minutes of their time to clean up South Africa.

The clean-up was followed by an imbizo, where maintenance cheques were handed over to beneficiaries, who are receiving considerable sums of money following the successful resolution of their cases.

The imbizo afforded the residents of Mamelodi and surrounding areas an opportunity to engage the Minister on justice related services.

Maintenance a collective responsibility

Addressing residents, the minister stressed that maintenance is not the responsibility of men or women only, but a collective responsibility that comes with parenting.

“We live in different times, where we have laws that protect women and children, but the same laws protect men as well. The justice system is not about dealing with people but producing fairness.

“A child is a product of love and it should not become the source of conflict between parents. The key principle of effective communication is honesty and openness,” Minister Masutha told the community.

He highlighted the importance of parents taking responsibility for their children. He warned those who evade supporting their children that there are mechanisms to make them contribute towards the care of their children.

“The pension funds can be attached so that proceeds are obtained to pay up arrears and going forward, to ensure the maintenance of the children of the defaulters. There’s no place to hide. The best thing is to come forward, go to court, work with the negotiators, and work out a settlement that is fair,” advised Minister Masutha.

New court building

A challenge raised during the imbizo was the construction of the new court building, which is meant to fully serve the Mamelodi community.

The construction of the new court was put on hold due to a dispute between the community, councillor and the contractor.

Minister Masutha said he was hoping that the dispute would be resolved so that the construction of the court can continue.

“We are talking to the community to try and unblock the challenge related to the construction of the new court. There’s been some burning of property as a result of the dispute, but hopefully after today, the work of building the court should go ahead so that people of Mamelodi also enjoy a quality service,” said the minister. – SAnews.gov.za

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