"16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children: End of the road for maintenance defaulters"
Today, marks the official launch of the Western Cape Provincial Government's 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, which will run from 25 November to 10 December 2010.
The main focus of our campaign is to hold maintenance defaulters responsible and to ensure that beneficiaries receive the money due to them. Our government has joined forces with the National Department of Justice so that we can identify defaulters and untraced beneficiaries and track them down.
The number of children in the Western Cape who are not receiving financial support from their parents is extremely high:
From the 26 courts identified by the Department of Justice for this project as at 17 November 2010, there are:
- 298 alleged maintenance defaulters for whom there are warrants of arrest at court - the total amount owing by these defaulters amounts to R2 316 508
- approximately 853 warrants for arrest at SAPS for alleged maintenance defaulters whose total liability amounts to R7 200 000
- 343 untraced maintenance beneficiaries who are owed a total of R302 323.
It is clear urgent intervention is required in order to ensure parents take responsibility for their children, this includes financial responsibility. This campaign is one of the ways we hope to promote this.
From 25 November to 10 December the Western Cape Provincial Government will:
- Publish the names of all untraced defaulters over the 16 day period (for whom there are warrants of arrest at court and have ID numbers,181 names in total) - so that communities can participate in locating defaulters and securing their appearance in court
- Publish the names of all beneficiaries still to collect monies owed to them
- Operate daily roadblocks using sophisticated tracking technology to net untraced defaulters
- Trace the beneficiaries of child maintenance through door-to-door searches undertaken by Community Development Workers
- Undertake a broad based public education and awareness-raising campaign
Furthermore, our cooperative relationship with the National Department of Justice will also continue after 10 December. This project and partnership will be a permanent one, augmenting the established "Operation Isondlo".
The purpose of our 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign - and the ongoing work that continues after it - is to make it clear that parents have responsibilities to their children. It is imperative that children receive the financial support they need in order to have the opportunities to succeed in life.
If parents are not adult enough to live up to their responsibilities, we will use every available resource to ensure that the children, and mostly women who care for them, receive the support that is their right. They deserve nothing less.