Whilst raising a child can be a fulfilling experience, it also comes with a great deal of challenges; particularly for single parents wanting to support their families.
Shamiso, a mother of two who has been struggling to get a court appointment and an order to have the father of her children pay for their maintenance, is a testimony of this challenge.
Shamiso and many other mothers are frustrated by the pace at which family courts take to process their cases, but according to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ&CD) some uninformed mothers could unwittingly be contributing to the delays.
A number of factors contributing to the delays
We spoke to Advocate Praise Kambula from the DoJ&CD who says that there are a number of contributing factors to the delays with the applications for the maintenance order.
Sometimes we have complainants that come to court without the complete details of the fathers of their children. It makes it difficult for us to trace the identity and the whereabouts of the father. This is a major challenge in our systems.— Adv. Praise Kambula, Dept. of Justice and Constitutional Development
Kambula says that without comprehensive information such as the father’s surname or ID number, it becomes difficult for the investigative process to go forward. The maintenance officer is then unable to call the respondent back or subpoena the father.
Shamiso says she applied to the family court in 2013 to receive maintenance for her children.
I was sent from pillar to post the whole of last year. I only got a signed court order on the 27th of February this year.— Shamiso, a mother seeking child support
Shamiso says that she doesn't feel the court is handling the matter of child maintenance with a sense of urgency.
No one is taking us seriously. If you visit the court right now, the passages are filled with women that have been there for years, looking for assistance from the court.— Shamiso, a mother seeking child support
According to Kambula the department has introduced a maintenance turnaround strategy that is intended to reduce the application for maintenance orders to a standard of 90 days or less.
For more information on the maintenance order procedure, visit the DoJ&CD website.
Listen to the full conversation on The John Robbie Show: