UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

CHILDREN SUFFER DUE TO FRAUD IN MAGISTRATE COURTS

STATEMENT ISSUED BY PROF LM MBADI, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

The UDM expresses its disgust at the escalating theft of funds meant for child maintenance grants at magistrate courts countrywide. The UDM welcomes the conviction on fraud charges of two maintenance officers at the Ga-Rankuwa Child Maintenance Court in the North West province. They have each been sentenced to four years imprisonment of which three years have been suspended, with the option of paying a
R2 000 fine each or serving a prison term. They were additionally ordered to pay back an amount of R3 600 stolen from child maintenance grants.

However, the UDM disapproves of such light sentences in the light of the widespread poverty that children endure coupled with the emotional trauma that are inflicted upon them due to poverty and broken family structures.

The effects of such thefts are far-reaching. Most children in South Africa are solely dependent on these grants, the theft of their grants deprives them of a means to provide for their constitutionally guaranteed rights.

The UDM calls upon the Minister of Welfare and the Minister of Justice to urgently attend to this horrific situation, which is causing many South Africans to suffer unnecessarily on a daily basis.

Prof Mtutuzeli Mbadi, MP
UDM Spokesperson for Social Development

Cape Town
07 June 2001.