Government wants to track parents in South Africa: report

 ·8 Feb 2021

The Department of Justice and Correctional Services says that it plans to introduce a new system which will track South African parents, to trace those who have defaulted on child maintenance payments.

Department spokesperson Stephans Mahlangu told the Weekend Argus that the change is being made to reduce dependency on child grants. He said that the following information will be tracked:

  • Cellphone and telephone numbers;
  • Company registrations;
  • Credit profiles;
  • Court judgments;
  • Property purchases;
  • Sales and transfers;
  • Vehicle regulations.

Mahlangu said that the data will be used to trace the whereabouts of persons to investigate maintenance cases, and enforce other related enforcement orders.

He added that the system will be able to list all enquiries made on a defaulter or beneficiary including information of the person making the enquiry, and those made by courts.

The department said that it will have controls in place to comply with the POPI Act.

“Only designated officials will be trained and given access to the system and the utilization of the system will also be monitored on a weekly basis by the supervisors of the designated officials and there will be no unauthorized usage of the system,” said Mahlangu.

Uptick in divorces during lockdown 

Data published by Sanlam in July 2020 shows that around 40% of marriages end in divorce before their ten-year anniversary.

Since lockdown started, a local legal firm has noted a 20% increase in divorce applications, said David Thomson, senior legal adviser at Sanlam Trust.

“You have to consider the impact of divorce on the whole financial picture. In a partnership, one person may have taken responsibility for the finances, so following a divorce, sudden financial independence could be daunting for the other partner.

“Additionally, divorce might mean that one has to go back to work. Plus, it has potentially big consequences if there are children involved as arrangements must be made regarding payment of school fees; medical aid and the like.”

Thomson said that if you go from having two incomes to one income, inevitably there’s going to be quite an adjustment.

He said that divorcees should be real about their circumstances and current expenses, then decide what changes they need to make.

“Take any new expenses into account, like childcare, for example. Adjust your budget accordingly, cull extra costs when possible, and consider ways to potentially earn extra income.

“Divorce is complicated, no matter who you are and how wealthy you may be.”

Read: This South African employee was fired for not coming in to work during lockdown – here’s what happened

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