Q I WANT TO SUE THE POLICE
I recently called the police during a domestic fight and they failed to come. Can I sue the police for failing to do their job? ANONYMOUS, MAMELODI
APolice have a legal obligation to protect all citizens and if they are called, be it in public or private area, they must attend to the complaint. If they are called during a domestic squabble and they fail to come, they can be sued. However, you need to prove that their failure to come resulted in you being assaulted or suffering an act of domestic violence, which resulted in financial loss – including loss of income and medical costs. The minister of police must be sued for failure of the police to perform their legal duties.
Q DEBT COLLECTOR HARASSES ME
I have a debt collector who keeps harassing me in front of my colleagues. Although I have informed him that I do not have money to pay and will pay when I am financially ready, he keeps on coming to my workplace. What can I do? ANONYMOUS, DURBAN
AA debt collector is not allowed to threaten or intimidate you. When they do, you must report this unethical behaviour to the Council for Debt Collectors on 012 804 9808. The council has a legal obligation to investigate your complaint. If they find the debt collector guilty, the debt collector’s registration can be withdrawn. They can be suspended or fined.
Q AM I STILL MARRIED?
I have been told that my marriage is void. What does this mean? ANONYMOUS, EMALAHLENI
AA marriage that is void is invalid and that marriage is regarded as if it has never existed. This happens if the formal requirements to enter into the marriage were not complied with. For example, a person gets married to someone who already has an existing spouse or the pastor who solemnised the marriage was not a marriage officer. Spouses whose marriage is declared void can get married again at Home Affairs, if they still want to get married.
Q I WANT TO FOSTER MY NEIGHBOUR’S KIDS
I would like to foster my neighbour’s children. I am unhappy with their home situation as they are looked after by a very frail and old grandmother. I am still young, have a job and believe I can give them a more stable and proper upbringing. What are the legal requirements? ANONYMOUS, POLOKWANE
AYou must be over the age of 18 and be a South African citizen or foreign citizen who has a permanent residency in South Africa. You need to visit the Department of Social Development and apply to be a foster parent.
Once you have applied, a social worker will be appointed and if your application is approved, the matter will be referred to the Children’s Court for a court order.
Once a court order has been obtained, you can contact the South Africa Social Security Agency and apply for a foster child grant to help you take care of the children.
Nthabiseng Monareng holds an LLB from Wits University and is studying for her LLM. Nthabi has more than 10 years experience in the legal field, specialising as a family law expert. She’s written books on family law and is a family law mediator.