Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

At least 20 000 beneficiaries could be affected by child maintenance IT system outage

More than 20 000 recipients of child maintenance through the MojaPay system may not receive their maintenance money, should the system not be restored by Wednesday 15 September. 

The automated system, which the department of justice and constitutional development uses for administering maintenance, is one of the systems that were affected by the recent hacking of its IT system.

Department spokesperson Steve Mahlangu said that officials are doing everything possible to ensure the recipients get their money on time. He added that payments that are meant to be processed on the 16 September are those that might be affected.

“There are other people who are paying maintenance: it will be deducted tomorrow [15 September] and we are supposed to process it by the 16th of this month. If the system should not be up on Thursday, we won’t be able to process that money,” Mahlangu said.

“Let’s hope it will be resolved anytime soon. We are hoping and crossing our fingers that it gets resolved soon.”

This is not the first time that maintenance recipients will not receive the funds timeously. In May last year the system crashed, leaving at least 1 500 recipients stranded, most of them from the Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal.

But Mahlangu insisted the MojaPay system remains one of the best that the department has used, because it speeds up the process of maintenance money going directly to the recipients, without [them] having to go to court.

“We did have a problem, but it was not on MojaPay per se; it was an issue of uploading all the information after the 16th and there were glitches here and there. I think this is the best system so far,” he said.

But the founder of Child Maintenance Difficulties in South Africa (CMDSA), Felicity Guest, disagrees. She told the Mail & Guardian that there have been constant interruptions in the administration of maintenance through MojaPay. 

This is one of the many frustrations that the recipients, who are mostly women, have to deal with — once again the best interest of the child has been compromised by the system

“When we found out about the delay in payments, women started contacting me, worried. When this happened last year, some had to borrow money just to get to court and be told that the system had crashed,” she said. “And we just wonder how serious[ly] the department regards the most vulnerable, who are the children.”

Guest said that, as an advocacy organisation, CMDSA found that the system has failed the women, men and children it is meant to take care of.

Frustrations include the length of time it takes for primary parents to get court dates, as well as the time it takes for the department to enforce maintenance orders and hold defaulters accountable.

“The system is not fit for purpose and it is going to be problematic. What is going to happen to parents who didn’t get their August payment?” Guest asked. “They already don’t know how they are going to survive. This is going to affect education, shelter, healthcare, and the food that children need.”

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Marcia Zali
Marcia Zali is an award winning journalist

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Capitec Bank flies high above Viceroy’s arrow

The bank took a knock after being labelled a loan shark by the short seller, but this has not stymied its growth

Zondo may miss chief justice cut

The deputy chief justice is said to top Ramaphosa’s list but his position as head of the state capture commission is seen as too politically fraught

More top stories

Council wants Hawks, SIU probe into BAT’s Zimbabwe scandal

The cigarette maker has been accused of giving up to $500 000 in bribes and spying on competitors

How Alpha Condé overthrew Alpha Condé

Since the coup d’état, Guinea’s head of state has been in the custody of the military officers. But it was the president who was the primary architect of his own downfall

‘The Making of Mount Edgecombe’: A view of history from...

Indian indentured labourers’ lives are celebrated in a new book, Sugar Mill Barracks: The Making of Mount Edgecombe

Case of men arrested with 19 rhino horns is postponed

Alleged rhino kingpin and a Mpumalanga businessman appeared in court on charges of the illegal possession and selling of rhino horns

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…