ENERGY and Power Development minister Samuel Undenge has taken his daughter Bongani Tafadzwa Undenge to the High Court seeking to challenge a $350 maintenance order granted in her favour arguing that she was now a major and should therefore support herself.
BY CHARLES LAITON
In his founding affidavit, Undenge said he was not happy with the ruling by a Harare magistrate last year that ordered him to keep on maintaining Bongani until she became self-supportive.
The minister said his daughter was now a major and the magistrate ought to have ruled in his favour when he applied for suspension or downward variation of the maintenance order, but instead, the judicial officer ruled otherwise.
“The order itself is vague; it states that the maintenance order should be complied with until the child is self-supportive. When does a major become self-supportive because if a person is a major, the presumption is that he is already self-supportive?” Undenge argued.
“Should the respondent (Bongani) become self-supportive at 40 years, will the applicant (Undenge) still be required to comply with the order? Clearly, the order is vague and difficult to comply with.”
The minister said the Maintenance Act only allowed for the extension of an existing order where such an application was done before the beneficiary turned 18 years.
“I humbly submit that the learned magistrate should have allowed my application for suspension or variation of the maintenance order especially taking into consideration . . . that the Maintenance Act does not provide for maintenance application by children who are above 18 years,” Undenge said.
“The amount that the magistrate ordered the applicant to pay is too high especially considering that he has other maintenance orders to comply with and other family responsibilities away from maintenance payments.”
The matter is set to be heard this Thursday by the judges of appeal.