By Zuko Komisa
The topic of absent fathers who don’t support their children has been a major topic is South Africa.
The profile of this problem being raised by TV shows such as Khumbul’eKhaya, Papgeld and Utatakho. While this problem is multi-layer, at the core of it is legislation designed to help the child receive financial support from both parents this is colloquially known as papgeld is South Africa. It is important to understand you and your child’s rights when it comes to Papgeld.
What does the law say about papgeld?
In South Africa, a child is entitled to reasonable maintenance to provide for clothing, housing, dental and medical care, education and training and recreation (where applicable). It is the responsibility of both parents to ensure the primary care of the child is taken off, regardless of the whether the parent is married, the child is adopted or when the child is from the first marriage.
The formula for calculation of parent’s contribution
The formula applied in practice to determine this contribution is as follows. This is based on the reasonable needs of the child on a monthly basis, with each child being allocated 20 percent of the total expense shared by all members of the household:
(parent’s gross income) (child’s needs)
(total gross income of both parents) X 1
= R00.00 (parent’s contribution)
An application can be made at the Magistrate’s Court where the child resides for a variation of the current maintenance order.
These figures may be adjusted regularly depending on changing circumstances. In extreme cases, if you can no longer afford to pay the ordered amount, you can apply to the courts for a reduction subject to financial investigation.
In instances where one of the parents refuses to pay for papgeld, you can apply to the maintenance court where you reside for three things
- authorisation to issue a warrant of execution,
- an order for the attachment of debt,
- or a garnishee order
Also important to note is that:
- The payment of papgeld is required until a child can support themselves.
- Every child has a right to maintenance, regardless of the parents’ relationship.
- According to Maintenance Act 99 of 1998, both parents have a duty and responsibility to support their children.
- A maintenance claim can be lodged by a child on a deceased parent’s estate should the parent pass away
- The estate of the parent can also be seized and sold and the money used to pay for the maintenance.
Perhaps tackling the problem of Papgeld in society will enable the promotion of the culture of active parenting. The presence of both parents goes a long way in the child’s development. The emotional upheavals a child goes through when parents do not support them should be strongly guarded against by all in society.