ANC and Cosatu to let maintenance defaulters ‘off the hook' by opposing Bill
30 March 2015
The ANC members in Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services have unanimously agreed to oppose the black-listing of maintenance defaulters. Committee Chairperson, Mathole Motshekga, has in turn instructed the Department of Justice to re-draft the Maintenance Amendment Bill in order to see to it that clause 11, which deals with black-listing, is deleted.
This move by the ANC runs counter to strengthening the struggling maintenance system. Adding black-listing as a punitive measure for defaulters is a crucial means of promoting compliance with maintenance orders.
The ANC initially supported a proposal by the DA in committee that clause 11 be amended to state that maintenance defaulters found to be in arrears by a court, should have their details supplied to Credit Bureaus for black-listing.
However, during the public comment process, Cosatu came out strongly against the clause in consideration. Last Thursday, in an unexpected U-turn, the ANC members in committee registered their opposition to the proposal to blacklist maintenance defaulters. In the process, the interests of children exposed by the frailties of the maintenance system was pushed aside by political considerations.
Amid recent calls for unity within the tripartite alliance, it is no surprise that the ANC have bowed to Cosatu's opposition to this clause. But the ANC must call it what it is - the protection of maintenance defaulters from becoming blacklisted, at the expense of the most vulnerable members of society.
The DA will, in the interest of thousands of vulnerable children, oppose any version of a reintroduced bill that does not contain clause 11, and will continue to push for the inclusion of a black-listing clause in the final version of the Bill.
Statement issued by Werner Horn MP, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, March 30 2015
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