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May 22, 2006

Grandfather sued for maintenance of dead son's child

Almost seven years after his only son was murdered, a KZN man is being sued for maintenance for his dead son’s child, says a report in The Witness. The girl was born out of wedlock to his son 10 years ago. Since a precedent-setting case in 2004, grandparents now have a legal duty to support their grandchildren if the mother is unable to and if the father is indigent, said an attorney. The duty also exists if the father has died. Judge PB Fourie ruled in the Cape High Court in 2004 that the Maintenance Act should be declared unconstitutional as it unfairly discriminates against extra-marital children and is contrary to the best interests of the child. If the common law is to keep in step with the values enshrined in our Constitution, then the paternal grandparents have a duty to support their extra-marital grandchildren to the same extent that the maternal grandparents are liable, he held.

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