Child rights: imprisonment for maintenance defaulters?

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Abstract

Child support is a child's right, and the premise of the maintenance regime in this regard is to protect the child. The current South African maintenance system is flawed, says Isabel Magaya, who reviews the criminal sanctions proposed in the new Maintenance Amendment Bill (2014) to ensure that child maintenance obligations are met. Women in South Africa have great difficulty in obtaining support from those legally obliged to provide maintenance to them or their children. The blatant disregard of maintenance orders results in great hardships for these women and children. Therefore, how the maintenance system deals with recalcitrant defaulters is an important mechanism for endorsing children's rights and ensuring maintenance obligations are met. Non-payment of maintenance is a children's rights issue.