Being in contempt of court means that an individual has acted in a way that directly defies the authority of the court, shows disrespect for the proceedings of the court or has interfered with the ability of the court to perform its function.
In South Africa, contempt of court does not only include the physical interruption of court proceeding – such as yelling at a judge or being belligerent - but also acts such as not showing up for a court date or ignoring the order of a court. The penalty for contempt of court can be either a fine or imprisonment depending on the nature and severity of the contempt.
An example of this would be a parent failing to pay child maintenance as per the order of a court. This parent would then be considered in contempt of court and could face the consequences thereof.
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