R1 million for scorned wife, child
Hubby’s ‘lavish’ lifestyle with mistress exposed
LIVING the high life with his mistress while his wife struggled to put food on the table for their two children, a wealthy KwaZulu-Natal businessman has now been forced to pay up – or go to jail.
The 52-year-old man, who runs a successful marquee hire business, is expected to pay close to R1 million after a four-year court battle for maintenance.
Together with interest and costs, the cumulative amount is believed to be the highest relating to a maintenance contempt application in South Africa.
The former Chatsworth man was found to be in contempt of two 2013 court orders, for R393 500 and R161 000.
He had tried to petition for leave to appeal those judgments, but this was thrown out by the Supreme Court of Appeal recently.
Speaking to POST, his wife said she had applied for a maintenance order in 2013 after years of struggling to pay the bills as she relied on her husband.
She said her life had taken a turn for the worse when she found out he was unfaithful in May 2001.
She was seven months pregnant with her son when the affair allegedly began, she said, but it was only when her baby was 10 days old that she discovered the “shocking truth”.
“My baby had yellow jaundice, so I took him to hospital for a check-up. My sister had called on my husband’s phone, so he handed me the device. Once I was done with the call, a text message popped up on the screen. It was from his friend’s wife.
“I remained silent until we got home. I confronted him and he flat out admitted to the affair.
“I was undergoing post-natal depression and to hear that my husband was cheating on me tore me apart.
“We had fight after fight and I eventually decided to move to my sister’s house with my children.”
She filed for divorce the next month but later decided to reconcile. But the affair continued and she again filed for divorce in 2005. However, they are still married.
The husband left home, moving in with his partner in Pietermaritzburg and allegedly transferred all their assets into his mother’s name as well as his mistress’s.
His devastated wife said she had applied for a maintenance order of R10 000 a month.
But he allegedly paid only once.
The Chatsworth mother had to resort to starting a small decor company to pay her bills.
Her husband claims he had dutifully paid the R10 000-a-month maintenance, accusing his wife of squandering it on her sister’s insurance premiums, to fund her own business and pay her attorney.
“She did nothing for my child,” he told POST. “I still had to pay the water and light bill for the house and buy groceries for the house. I was being set back for more than R10 000, so I stopped paying the money.”
But he said he had decided to continue buying food and paying the bills, “because my son lived there and he is my first priority”.
He described the order to pay up or go to jail as “extremely unfair”.
Mathew Pravda, a partner in the law firm Pravda and Knowles Attorneys, submitted evidence showing the estranged husband had lived a “lavish lifestyle” with his 54-year-old mistress, enjoying “extravagant trips” to Cape Town, Johannesburg, the Maldives and Disney World.
Pravda proved that the husband made renovations to his house, threw elaborate parties and splashed out on a new car and spa day trips for his lover – all while his wife and children were left destitute.
Pleased with the outcome, Pravda told POST: “This marks a new era in that rich and powerful men will know that the law shall reach out and consider the needs of the women and children who are in dire need of help.”