Call for union leadership on family responsibilities

Numsa members should build and encourage the view among men that it is our culture as Africans to take care of our families – including children born out of wedlock – says Numsa president Cedric Gina.

Gina added that child maintenance was a societal issue on which the union could provide leadership.

According to Numsa payroll records, one out of every 30 Numsa staff members is paying maintenance through the courts via garnishee orders.

“No leader of the trade union should pay maintenance though the court and garnishee measures,” said Gina. “Men should accept responsibility for their children.”

Thandi Masemola, a senior prosecutor at the family court in Johannesburg, confirmed that most garnishee orders are issued against fathers.

However, she said that a few men also benefit from the payment of maintenance by mothers.

Masemola explained that before a maintenance order can be finalised, the maintenance officer will call both parties.

The officer will then collect all relevant information to the inquiry, and facilitate the process of getting the parties to reach an agreement on the amount of maintenance payable.

In some cases, the officer will determine the maintenance amount payable.
The maintenance officer will inform both parties of the legal position with regards to their maintenance responsibilities.

However, if the maintenance is not paid, the court can grant a garnishee order.

A garnishee order is a court order to enforce maintenance payments by having the amount deducted directly from the salary of the person who is not paying.

The law also provides for criminal charges to be laid against the person who is not paying maintenance.

In view of the high number of women-headed families and the number of mothers carrying the burden of raising children on their own, union members would contribute to the fight for gender equality by addressing these issues, said Gina.


Numsa News No 3, October 2010