Deadbeat” dads who don’t pay maintenance for their children were literally woken up with a bang this week.
Over 100 fathers, who allegedly don’t financially provide for their children as ordered by the courts, were caught in bright lights when 1 000-strong police troops swooped on them at their homes in late-night raids.
The swoop, as part of Operation Isondlo, a joint operation between Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and Police, managed to trace 121 alleged maintenance defaulters in just one night.
Among the 121 were three non-paying fathers who had previously been arrested but had gone on the run. The three were part of a group of 11 non-paying fathers for whom police had issued red alerts when they failed to make their court appearances.
Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Andries Nel, along with Western Cape head of the department, Hishaam Mohamed, joined the men in blue as they swooped on unsuspecting maintenance dodgers.
Mohamed said the joint operation, led by SAPS, indicated that the Criminal Justice System was functioning well in the Western Cape and that the government was committed to protecting the best interests of children and also to ensuring all people felt safe.
Since the campaign started on September 15, police have arrested 262 alleged defaulters, of whom 11 voluntarily surrendered.
The 262 traced in the Western Cape collectively owe R3 737 781 in unpaid maintenance fees.
Mohamed said of those arrested, 135 were released on a warning by the court, 42 were released on bail, 10 were denied bail and kept in custody while 27 others had their warrant inquiry dismissed by the courts.
“Ten complaints were withdrawn by the respective complainants, two alleged defaulters had their cases converted into an enquiry, and 41 matters have been finalised by the court.”
Justice officials this week confirmed that 11 men across the province failed to make court appearances and absconded after being arrested.
Mohamed said officials would now search for the same suspects again. However, three were already re-arrested.
Mohamed said there were red alerts for the following men:
* Conway Trompete was arrested by police and failed to appear in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court after being warned by the court to do so.
* Wasfiek Lee was arrested and appeared in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court on September 15 but failed to reappear on November 9. A warrant of arrest was re-issued.
* Conroy Lionel Loff was arrested and appeared in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court on October 7, but failed to arrive at court a month later – a warrant of arrest was re-issued.
* Gerhardus Fortuin was warned by the George Magistrate’s Court to appear on October 31, but the alleged defaulter failed to report to court and a warrant of arrest was re-issued.
* Ashraf Cassiem was arrested and warned by the Athlone Magistrate’s Court to appear on November 15 but failed to report to court. A warrant of arrest was re-issued.
According to Mohamed, warrants of arrest were previously re-issued for Alec Plaatjies, Nolan Horne, Gavin van Sensie, Kerneels Kamfer, Farouk Damons and Ederies Khan, who all failed to report back to court.
He added that Van Sensie, Khan and Kamfer were re-arrested during operations held this week.
Police and justice officials were not discouraged, despite having to track down some of the same suspects again.
The aim of Operation Isondlo is to encourage parents to regularly pay maintenance for their children