R1 mil­lion for scorned wife, child

Hubby’s ‘lav­ish’ lifestyle with mis­tress ex­posed

Post - - Front Page - JA­NINE MOODLEY

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.”

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