Coastal women pour hearts out to Ombudsman

05 Dec 2017 18:10pm
SWAKOPMUND 05 DEC (NAMPA) – Several women facing divorce and child maintenance problems at the coast voiced their frustrations to Ombudsman John Walters.
Walters held meetings at Walvis Bay and Swakopmund on Monday and Tuesday to hear the concerns of affected women so that ways to assist them could be effected.
On Monday, he listened to about 10 women at Walvis Bay and around the same number at Swakopmund on Tuesday.
The identities of the women are withheld to protect them from getting into conflict with the fathers of their children and court staff.
They complained about none or late payment of maintenance from the fathers, denial of custody to their children and poor service from court staff.
“For nine months now I did not receive any money from him. I have been coming to court almost every week, but I am just told there is no money,” said one emotional woman.
Another protested that when the father failed to pay for months and the arrears were written off by court officials.
A divorced mother of two girls started crying as she told her story to Walters.
She said the divorce order gave her custody of the children and ordered the former husband to buy her a vehicle.
None of these were executed as her 14-year-old daughter still resides with the father, not visiting her since January this year.
The father allegedly refuses to give the girl and buy the car, as such the two are now in and out of court.
“I spent about N.dollars 300 000 on lawyers during the divorce process, all for nothing. He also did not pay the N.dollars 4 500 maintenance for each child for eight months now,” said the woman, weeping.
Another mother accused her husband of abandoning her and their three babies at a house in the northern region.
She said her husband is seeing another woman and is not speaking to her.
“He left us in the house and went back to his mother’s house. Even if he is paying maintenance now, he still needs to support me, I am still his wife until he divorces me. I do not know where I stand.”
This woman has since left the house and returned to her mother in Swakopmund from where she was taken to the north.
“I was begging to feed my children in an area where I do not know anybody, we could go for days without food,” she said.
Some women said staff at the court do not do much to assist them in getting the money due to them, whilst they also only communicate in English to the Afrikaans- and Oshiwambo-speaking mothers.
Walters advised them to request for interpretation and apply for court orders or warrants of arrest to compel the men to pay.