Cheating and ‘abusive’ magistrate dragged to court over spousal maintenance in bitter divorce dispute

Western Cape High Court. File Picture: Patrick Louw

Western Cape High Court. File Picture: Patrick Louw

Published Apr 15, 2024


A police captain, who is embroiled in an acrimonious divorce with her magistrate husband, approached the Western Cape High Court seeking R10,200 monthly maintenance and a contribution towards her R250,000 legal fees.

The estranged couple got married in October 1996 and had three children in their marriage.

In 1998, the husband resigned from his job as prosecutor in Qonce in the Eastern Cape and the family moved to Paarl, Western Cape.

At the time, she was a Constable and they survived on her salary while staying with her husband’s parents.

In 1999, she bought a house and moved with her family to their new home. She said this was really a tough time financially as she was the only one bringing in income.

However, after some time, the husband got a job as a prosecutor and was later appointed as a magistrate in Wellington.

She described her marriage as tumultuous and said that during 2005 until 2006, the husband had an affair and had a child in that relationship.

She said this led her to depression and their relationship deteriorated.

Moreover, she said the husband physically and emotionally abused her. She added his erratic behaviour would sometimes force her to leave their home and seek shelter with her family.

She said that during one of the fights, she couldn't get away because her husband had hidden her car keys. To escape him, she locked herself in the bathroom, but he broke down the door.

In 2014, the couple divorced but continued to live as husband and wife, she said the divorce was suggested by the husband so that they could access his pension fund.

After the divorce, they got over R6.4 million which they used to pay for their debts and finance their lavish lifestyle.

They re-married in 2016.

In 2022, their relationship hit a snag and the wife moved out of their home. She said she lived out of her vehicle and her office. Eventually, she built up courage to ask for accommodation from her friend.

Subsequently, she secured a job transfer to Queenstown, Eastern Cape, and her employer provided her with accommodation but she still has to pay rent.

She said she earns R25,000 and has to pay five loans amounting to about R15,000. She incurred the debts when she was relocating.

With the remaining amount, she has to pay rent, groceries, water and electricity, fuel, three clothing accounts, medical expenses, legal costs etc.

She said she has a shortfall of R10,134.

In his reply, the husband said the wife was ‘delusional’ for thinking that they lived a lavish lifestyle because they rarely ate out but only did it when they had received bonuses or celebrating birthdays, and they would split the bill.

He said the wife was the one who wore expensive brands and had about six clothing accounts while he had only two.

He admitted that he fathered a child outside marriage but said he did that as a retaliation because the wife also had an affair with a man from Kimberley in 2005.

He denied suggesting a divorce for financial gain and said their marriage was in shambles at the time.

He accused the wife of having a drinking problem and would leave him and the children on weekends and go to tonight clubs.

He denied being abusive. Instead, he said the wife was the one who was abusive towards him because at one point, she attacked him in front of his family members, and he was forced to defend himself by slapping her.

Regarding the bathroom incident, he admitted to kicking the door and said he did this to save his highly intoxicated wife who wanted to commit suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.

He said they were having an argument about her drinking problem.

In addition, he said every time when she left their home, it was through her own volition and she did this to get away form her duties as a mother and wife.

Through his counsel, the husband said he earns over R47,000 and he was not refusing to pay maintenance, however, he has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and most of his earnings cover his medical bills.

He said he even had to assume a lessor position in Paarl Magistrate Court due to his sickness.

Judge Babalwa Mantame noted that the husband didn’t provide any supporting documentation to support his evidence.

“In the absence thereof, this Court will base its findings on the evidence provided. The husband has not explained how his personal loans came about...With regard to the claim for maintenance, I am satisfied that the wife has to receive some maintenance contributions, more especially that she incurred extra expenses necessitated by her relocation,’’ said judge Mantame.

Judge Mantame ordered the husband to pay a monthly R5,500 towards spousal maintenance.

He also has to pay R187,500 towards her legal costs during the divorce.

In addition, he has to pay costs of the application.

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