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Frustration over child maintenance payment delays

2021-10-29  Staff Reporter

Frustration over child maintenance payment delays
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Aron Mushaukwa

KATIMA MULILO – Mothers who receive their maintenance money at the Katima Mulilo Magistrate’s Court have expressed frustration over the payment process. Some mothers, who spoke to New Era but didn’t want to be named for fear of victimisation, stated that the delay is having a negative impact on their children.

“The last time I got a payment was in June, and I have been at the magistrate’s office three times.

Every time, I am told to write down my name, and the money will be deposited in the account. But up until now, I have not received anything. How do they expect us to survive?” Another parent claimed that public offices have worsened the situation.

“We used to fight with the fathers of our children, and we approached the law to help us. But they have worsened the situation. We don’t know to whom we should go to solve our problems,” she lamented.

Another affected mother shared similar sentiments, and stressed that whenever they go to the office to enquire, they are always told to wait.

“They are always telling us to wait, but they don’t tell us for how long we should wait. Others have been receiving the money, but some of us are left out,” she added.

According to the mothers, things changed when the magistrate’s office told them to provide bank accounts so that the money could be deposited directly into their accounts, compared to the previous system where they used to be given hard cash.

The delay to pay out the child support money to the mothers at the magistrate’s office dates back as far as the beginning of the year. In a response letter dated 15 July, the Office of the Judiciary explained that the delay to pay out was always caused by a lack of funds from the Magistrate’s Deposit Suspense Account (MDSA).

The letter further states that given that the account is not only for maintenance money, the lack of funds in the account was at the time caused by “a marked increase in the withdrawal of criminal cases recently, leading to an increase of bail payments from the MDSA.”

“The Directorate: Lower Courts will forthwith consult with our finance division to urgently address the shortage of funds in the Katima Mulilo MDSA, which will ensure that the magistrate’s office does not experience any future payment failures.”

However, three months down the line, the issue remains unresolved. Contacted for comment, judiciary spokesperson Selma Mwaetako said she was not aware that the problem remains unresolved, and that she will need time to make enquiries from the relevant personnel.

2021-10-29  Staff Reporter

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