New law will ensure maintenance defaulters are blacklisted

New law will ensure maintenance defaulters are blacklisted

The National Assembly has passed a new law that will see parents who default on child maintenance blacklisted and blocked from getting credit while owing maintenance.

Introducing the bill, the deputy minister of Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffery said maintenance, especially child maintenance, was one of the department’s major priorities.

This, he said, was evidenced by the number of initiatives that the department continued to undertake in order to improve the maintenance system.

Jeffery said there was a longer term revision of the Maintenance Act that was being conducted by the South African Law Reform Commission and that the Maintenance Amendment Bill was an interim measure of some amendments to improve the system of maintenance.

According to the bill:

» If a person has defaulted on paying maintenance, their personal details would be submitted to the credit bureau. This would prevent maintenance defaulters from continuing to receive credit while owing maintenance.

“This we believe sends out a clear message to maintenance defaulters that their failure to support their dependants is indefensible,” said Jeffery.

MP MatholeMotshekga, who also chairs the justice portfolio committee, said there was a view that blacklisting would limit the creditworthiness of defaulters and hinder them from paying maintenance even more.

“As a result it was agreed that we must get the department to investigate other options to blacklisting. When we considered the alternatives, we found that there was no viable alternative and therefore we unanimously agreed that blacklisting should continue,” he said

This clause may just help to force a number of parents who are able but unwilling to meet their obligations to their children,” he said.