The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services yesterday adopted the Maintenance Amendment Bill, which would see maintenance defaulters being blacklisted.
Initially the Committee wanted the clause redrafted as the names of defaulters would be blacklisted by the credit bureaus. It was feared that blacklisting would limit the defaulters’ credit worthiness. Thus, the Committee instructed the department to look for other options.
The Committee has suggested that a garnishee order might be one such option to follow, but also indicated that the Department might consider other options in this regard.
The Committee yesterday continued to hold the view that applicants for maintenance should not pay the cost to cellular phone providers to trace defaulters. The Committee Chairperson, Dr Mathole Motshekga, said if this clause was kept in its current form, it would prevent many poor people, especially women, from accessing maintenance.
The Committee agreed that the initial clause should be changed to read that the State must bear the cost should an applicant not be able to afford the payment charged by service providers.
A means test could be use to ascertain this. The State can then later recover the cost from defaulters. In the case where an applicant is able to pay, that party should bear the cost. The cost involved to cellular service provider is about R80.
The Bill will now go to the National Council of Provinces for approval.
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Source : Parliament of South Africa