After ignoring child maintenance payments‚ father is to lose his house

01 March 2018 - 12:57 By Ernest Mabuza
The man stopped paying maintenance towards the end of 2012 and his debt rose to R306 000 in 2014.
The man stopped paying maintenance towards the end of 2012 and his debt rose to R306 000 in 2014.
Image: 123RF/zimmytws

A divorced father who failed to honour his child maintenance obligations and ignored court rulings is set to have his house sold in execution of his debt towards the child.

The Constitutional Court did not hear the merits of the man’s appeal‚ despite sitting on two ocassions‚ because he did not fully comply with its order made in August that he make payments towards the maintenance of the child.

In October last year the man also requested the child - now aged nine - to undergo a paternity test. The results showed with 99.999994% certainty that he was the father.

The parents married in 2007 but a divorce order was granted by the court in 2010. The child was born during the marriage‚ in September 2008. In terms of the divorce order‚ the man was to pay R2 500 per month towards the maintenance of the child‚ and also pay half of the school fees‚ text books‚ extramural activities and uniforms and medical expenses.

The man stopped paying maintenance towards the end of 2012 and his debt rose to R306 000 in 2014.

In 2015‚ the mother brought an application before the high court in Pretoria seeking to execute against the man’s immovable property (his house) to satisfy the debt. In August 2015‚ the high court ordered the execution against the man’s property.

The man’s application for leave to appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeal‚ resulting in the man approaching the Constitutional Court for relief. When the matter was heard on August 29 last year‚ it emerged that the man had not paid maintenance since 2014.

The court postponed the matter until November and ordered the man to pay‚ for the benefit of the child‚ at least R150 000 before September 30 and additional monthly payments. When the hearing resumed in November‚ the man had only paid R150 000 but did not pay the additional monthly payments as ordered by the court.

In a unanimous judgment penned by Acting Justice Jody Kollapen on Thursday‚ he said it was not in the interests of justice for the man to ventilate his argument on the merits of the appeal. “Those interests will not be best served and will be undermined if the (man) is allowed to proceed and deal with the merits of the appeal in the absence of him remedying his conduct by complying with the August order.

“It will dilute the potency of the judicial authority and it will send a chilling message to litigants that orders of court may well be ignored with no consequence‚” Kollapen said.

The court expressed dismay that in October‚ the man requested the child undergo a paternity test.

Kollapen said impressive as its powers were‚ no court could direct a parent to love and recognise a child.