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CityPress - - News - ZINHLE MAPUMULO zinhle.mapumulo@city­press.co.za

co­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers leader Julius Malema’s friend and for­mer busi­ness part­ner Le­siba Gwangwa is liv­ing large. He has man­sions and drives the latest Ger­man sedans – but his ex-wife and son are liv­ing in ab­ject poverty. The woman, who can­not be named to pro­tect the iden­tity of her son, told City Press that the sit­u­a­tion was so bad that they of­ten went to bed hun­gry. She said last year, her son was served with a no­tice not to re­turn to school un­til out­stand­ing school fees had been paid.

City Press has seen the let­ter of sus­pen­sion, which was sent to Gwangwa’s ex-wife in Oc­to­ber 2014.

Gwangwa di­vorced his high school sweet­heart and wife of three years in Septem­ber 2010. As part of the di­vorce set­tle­ment, he re­port­edly made the fol­low­ing un­der­tak­ings:

R2 000 a month for his son’s main­te­nance, which would in­crease by 10% an­nu­ally, and cover all his med­i­cal ex­penses;

R6 000 a month to his ex-wife, which would be in­creased by 10% an­nu­ally, and cover her med­i­cal ex­penses un­til such time that she had her own med­i­cal aid; and

To buy his ex-wife a three-bed­room town­house and give her a VW Polo, which had been paid for.

Ac­cord­ing to Gwangwa’s ex-wife, “none have ma­te­ri­alised, ex­cept for the old car he gave me, which broke down some time ago and has been gath­er­ing dust be­cause I can’t af­ford to have it re­paired”.

“Le­siba promised to give me a fully fur­nished three­bed­room town­house more than five years ago, but I am still wait­ing for that. I am liv­ing with my grand­mother and have noth­ing to show for all the years I spent with him when he was start­ing his busi­ness,” she said.

Gwangwa, who heads On Point En­gi­neer­ing, which was at the cen­tre of a R52 mil­lion fraud case against Malema, re­fused to com­ment on the al­le­ga­tions made by his ex-wife.

“I am a pri­vate per­son. I don’t talk about my pri­vate life. En­joy your evening,” he said, be­fore hang­ing up.

Gwangwa’s ex-wife said her rev­e­la­tions were not about sour grapes, but en­sur­ing that “the man who owns man­sions, drives Range Rovers and has mil­lions in his name takes care of his son, as he promised to”.

“I was sup­posed to get half of ev­ery­thing he had, but I made a com­pro­mise be­cause I was not greedy.

“Ev­ery­thing he said he would pro­vide for us were ba­sics and meant to en­sure that his son had a roof over his head, food on the ta­ble and clothes on his back.

“But my son now wears rags be­cause I am un­em­ployed, and don’t have money to buy him proper clothes and school uni­forms. We have a hand-to-mouth ex­is­tence and there are times when I have no idea where the next meal will come from. “What breaks my heart is that Le­siba is liv­ing the [good] life, yet his son is suf­fer­ing,” she ex­plained. Johannesburg at­tor­ney Hugh Raich­lin said de­fault­ing on main­te­nance as per a court or­der or out-of-court set­tle­ment was equal to con­tempt of court.

“In the event that a per­son fails to pay main­te­nance as per an agree­ment, the mother of the child may ap­proach the court. The court may is­sue a no­tice for his prop­erty to be at­tached.” These reme­dies are pro­vided for in sec­tions 27, 28 and 30 of the Main­te­nance Act (Act 99 of 1998). Sec­tion 31 of the act pro­vides for the crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion of a de­faulter.

Raich­lin fur­ther said if all else failed, “the court may is­sue a war­rant of ar­rest, but it doesn’t hap­pen of­ten as it may put the child at a disad­van­tage when the de­faulter has been im­pris­oned”.

Le­siba Gwangwa

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