WINDHOEK - Minister of Justice Sacky Shanghala yesterday said the Maintenance Amendment Bill - placed on the ministry’s website yesterday for public input - will among others seek to blacklist child maintenance defaulters from participating in government tenders.
Delivering his ministerial statement in Parliament yesterday, Shanghala urged those affected by the bill to visit the ministry’s website and provide their inputs and comments.
A local daily newspaper earlier this year reported that there are 31 104 active maintenance cases before 33 Namibian courts and out of that number, 15 097 are default cases.
Shanghala said the Bill recognises that often maintenance payers default on the payment while continuing living lavish lifestyles.
“To ensure that maintenance payments are made, the court has no discretion to order that maintenance payment is directly deducted from the payer’s salary,” he said, adding that defaulters will also not be able to do business with government until default is cleared.
Shanghala suggested those that are unfamiliar with reading the Bill to read the long title, typed in bold typeface, identify which are of their interest and then read that specific section of the amendment and the existing laws.
“Think about how those portions affect your life and provide your input to the Ministry of Justice website –moj.gov.na,” said the youthful minister.
Shanghala also pleaded with language experts and urge them to translate these bills into the most widely spoken Namibian languages.
“The ministry will commit to ensuring the accuracy of the translation, but our language students must assist us in doing the translation,” he said.
“Flex your linguistic muscles! Our people must understand their rights and the best understanding comes from a mother tongue interpretation,” he said.
Other bills placed on the website yesterday for comment Shanghala said, includes the Combating of Domestic Violence Amendment Bill and the Combating of Rape Amendment Bill.
According to Shanghala, the Combating of Rape Amendment Bill now clarifies that the minimum sentences for rape apply equally to attempted rape.
“Prosecutors will have to fulfill additional duties towards complainants and vulnerable witnesses before the commencement of trials to ensure that such persons are not intimidated,” he said.
He said children, who are often intricately involved in toxic domestic relationship, will now also be able to testify in court and their evidence will carry the same weight as an adult’s testimony.
As for the Combating of Domestic Violence Amendment Bill, Shanghala said the bill has simplified the process for obtaining an interim protection order.
“The terms of protection orders have also been broadened to assist the complainant to secure property and to add the provision directing the responded to take part in counselling or treatment programme,” he said.
He said due to the personal nature of domestic violence, the Act is amended to strengthen safeguards against intimidation of complainants and to apply the provision for vulnerable witnesses.
Shanghala said these amendments were due to the recent surge in violent, gruesome, crimes against women and children.
He said gender based violence is not a problem to be placed at the feet of only one organisation.
“It is not a governmental problem or something for the Non-Governmental Organisations to solve,” he said, adding that violence against women and children affect the whole country and we are all responsible for preventing such violence.
“Be it in the way we raised our children in society-we are all responsible for preventing gender based violence,” Shanghala said.
The minister urge those in abusive relationships to take actions and to report the incidents to the police or to visit the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, or to call ChildLine for assistance.
“Victims need not to feel ashamed. I applaud those that have come forward, your courage to make a better life for yourself is inspiring,” he said.
2018-11-09 09:11:11 6 days ago