Former teacher jailed for child maintenance

LOCKED UP: Segwagwa

A former teacher looked startled in the dock last week when a Molepolole Magistrates court sentenced him to a three-month jail term for failing to pay maintenance for his two daughters.

Thulaganyo Segwagwa (56) from Dutlwe village had failed to honour a court order requiring him to have settled his child maintenance arrears of P23 200.00 by February 13th, 2020.

The amount had accumulated for 29 months from August 2015 to December 2017.

The remorseful Segwagwa pleaded with the court to give him one more month to settle the outstanding debt, but Magistrate Kefilwe Resheng told him that the court order was not negotiable as the sentence had already been passed by the substantive Magistrate Rosemary Khutlo who was away on leave.

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“My job here is only to commit you to prison,” she ruled.

The distressed Segwagwa took a deep breath, resigning to his fate as the police chained him in leg irons and handcuffs before pairing him with other offenders bound for prison.

Segwagwa had been ordered by the maintenance court to pay the sum of P400.00 for both of his kids and later on the amount was raised to P800.00 after the children’s mother, 38- year-old Tswelelelo Tshaakane, requested for increment.

Outside the courtroom, the dejected Segwagwa told The Voice that after his retirement from work in 2012, he pleaded with Tshaakane to allow him to pay in advance an amount that will take care of the children’s welfare till they reach the age of 18, but she demanded an amount that he could not afford.

“She gave me two options to either pay P200 000.00 cash or to continue paying the P800. But when I made the calculations I realised that I only needed to pay P72 000.00. Unfortunately I did not have the money at the time,” Segwagwa said and added that he was still struggling to raise the money as he was now unemployed.

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When he realised it was difficult for him to pay the maintenance, Segwagwa said he requested to take the children to care for them while staying with him, but their mother refused.

His 20- year-old first born has since completed Form 5 while her 16-year-old younger sister is still doing Form 4.

“I may have been broke, but I did all I could to show my kids that I love them, including frequently visiting them,” he said as he frantically pressed his cellphone trying text his family about his prison committal.

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