Maintenance investigator and sheriff round up defaulter’s cattle

2009-12-28 00:00

A FATHER who defaulted on maintenance payments of over R105 000 did not reckon with the sheer determination of the maintenance investigators at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court.

Last week, the maintenance investigators attached 44 of his cattle, including prime Nguni stock. Investigator Zuleka Aboobaker accompanied the sheriff, who hired a horse and trailer to pick up the cattle. The cattle are being kept on a farm pending their sale.

For Aboobaker, there is the satisfaction of knowing that three children won’t be going without uniforms and fees when school reopens next year

The father, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his children, allegedly registered most of his assets in other individuals’ names so they could not be attached for non-payment. Such action, say experts, is a common ploy among people who want to avoid honouring their maintenance obligations.

According to the court papers, the high court made a ruling, to which the father agreed, that he pay R4  000 per child and R4 000 for their mother — a total of R16 000 per month. His payments went into arrears and he owed more than R120 000. At this stage his bank accounts were attached and R40 000 was recouped.

The father then applied for a decrease in the amount he had to pay. The mother agreed to reduce the amount to R1 000 for her and each child. This meant the father would have to pay only R4 000 per month as opposed to a monthly R16 000.

However, he defaulted again, paying only for two months. The arrears built up to over R105 000 and all attempts by the maintenance investigators to see how they could get the money reached a dead end. The father appeared to have been stripped of all his assets.

Aboobaker did not give up. Her probing led her to investigate who owns the cattle on the defaulter’s farm.

She executed the attachment order which the court had granted. She oversaw the loading process and said she encountered no resistance from anyone on the farm.

In fact, she added, the arrival of the sheriff and his entourage and the rounding up of the cattle were met with astonished silence.

The maintenance investigators at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court were hard at work last week.

The festive season is not a time they take off. It is when they are busiest because they cannot bear to see the distress of children who have to go without at Christmas because their maintenance has not been paid.

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