By Auxilia Katongomara
Police officers and soldiers make up the bulk of 1965 maintenance cases handled at the Maintenance Court in Bulawayo in 2017 and the 682 recorded so far this year.
Officials have revealed that at least four cops and four soldiers appear at the maintenance courts daily.
The total maintenance cases have declined from 2 348 cases recorded in 2016. According to court records, a total of 415 cases were recorded at the end of March and 682 by Wednesday this week.
A judicial official who spoke on condition of anonymity said civil servants topped maintenance appearances at the courts.
“Civil servants particularly police officers and soldiers, are the ones who are mostly dragged to maintenance courts. One of the reasons is that they are transferred often and they then leave children.
“As compared to other civil servants, they are the ones who top maintenance cases,” said the official. Most men, the official said, claimed that they could not afford to take care of their children.
“Most men say that they can not afford while a few would be doubting the paternity of the child and would be seeking DNA tests but most of them just say that they don’t have the means,” said the official.
Court records show the default rate was also very high as men either ignore court orders or struggle to pay the maintenance allowances prompting them to be arrested for defaulting.
Most men claim that they are out of employment hence they could not adequately support their children.
Some have even offered as little as $10 for their children.
Records show that four men have so far this year filed for maintenance from their spouses while one Advanced Level pupil has dragged his father to the maintenance courts demanding a monthly allowance of $460.
Mthulisi Nkomo sued his father Bekezela Nkomo as he is neglecting his duty as a father.
The father was ordered to pay $30 maintenance for his son.
A claim for maintenance can also be done by the grandparents, aunts or whoever is looking after the child.
Maintenance is paid for children up to the age of 18 years but can be extended in cases where the child is still at school, university or if the child has special needs such as mental or physical challenges.
Recently, the Applied Genetic Testing Centre (AGTC) at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo revealed that cheating spouses were approaching them intending to bribe officials to manipulate their children’s paternity results to save their marriages.
AGTC director Mr Zephaniah Dhlamini revealed that approximately one in every three cases that they deal with comes out negative exposing some women as cheats. The Chronicle