Ex-wife ver­sus deputy min­is­ter

The Star Late Edition - - POLITICS - LOY­ISO SIDIMBA

A DEPUTY min­is­ter is em­broiled in a bit­ter divorce bat­tle with his ex-wife in a case that could set a prece­dent for women in the Eastern Cape.

The 47-year-old un­em­ployed mother of two adult chil­dren has re­vealed in an ex­plo­sive af­fi­davit filed in the Con­sti­tu­tional Court that her hus­band dis­re­garded her as an equal, re­duced her to an in­fe­rior be­ing; no more than a child, and not equal to a man.

“… He set the (bad) ex­am­ple of how men should treat women in the area of the for­mer Transkei,” stated the ex-wife’s af­fi­davit.

She said as grounds for divorce the deputy min­is­ter claimed she re­fused to obey him re­gard­ing mat­ri­mo­nial mat­ters.

“The re­spon­dent (the deputy min­is­ter) fa­thered chil­dren out­side our mar­riage, which is true. The re­spon­dent states that he has no knowl­edge of th­ese chil­dren, but even if it had been true, this could never con­sti­tute grounds for divorce,” she ex­plained.

The ex-wife com­plained: “Hu­man dig­nity in­so­far as the pa­ter­nal­is­tic so­ci­ety in the for­mer Transkei sees me as an ob­ject that should be obe­di­ent to my hus­band, not com­plain about his sex­ual re­la­tion­ships out­side our mar­riage and with­out a right to main­te­nance or shar­ing in as­sets, which I helped build or pre­serve.”

The deputy min­is­ter’s ex-wife is tak­ing her fight for some of her hus­band’s as­sets to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court. The divorce was fi­nalised in an Eastern Cape re­gional court in 2014 in the ex-wife’s ab­sence and with­out her hav­ing any knowl­edge that the mat­ter would be be­fore the court, her le­gal pa­pers claim.

“In fi­nal­is­ing the divorce with­out my knowl­edge I was prej­u­diced in that my ver­sion of events was never placed be­fore the court and my claim for main­te­nance was never con­sid­ered,” she said.

The deputy min­is­ter later ap­pealed to the Eastern Cape High Court, which also de­clared the mar­riage in com­mu­nity of prop­erty.

The ex-wife said that dur­ing the course of their civil mar­riage, the deputy min­is­ter il­le­gally en­tered into a cus­tom­ary mar­riage with a younger woman. The deputy min­is­ter has re­fused to ad­mit or deny the al­le­ga­tion that he en­tered into a cus­tom­ary mar­riage.

How­ever, dur­ing a sub­se­quent in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the of­fice of the fam­ily ad­vo­cate, the deputy min­is­ter ad­mit­ted that he il­le­gally mar­ried his new wife and pro­vided de­tails.

“The re­spon­dent knows full well that a civil mar­riage bars all fur­ther mar­riages. Yet he saw fit to en­ter into an il­le­gal cus­tom­ary union, thereby caus­ing a break­down of our mar­riage as well as ru­in­ing the life of an­other vul­ner­a­ble woman,” the ex-wife added.

She said she wants to show the Con­court how women are abused in the pa­ter­nal­is­tic set­ting of the for­mer Transkei.

In his re­sponse, the deputy min­is­ter said he and his ex-wife were ad idem (agree­ment to the same thing) re­gard­ing the dis­so­lu­tion of their mar­riage, is­sues of a guilty spouse and main­te­nance of the in­no­cent spouse were never is­sues for con­sid­er­a­tion at all.

He said his ex-wife’s ap­pli­ca­tion was base­less, hy­po­thet­i­cal with no prac­ti­cal ef­fect on the par­ties and there­fore lacked sub­stance.

The ex-wife said she was in such a pre­car­i­ous fi­nan­cial po­si­tion that her pre­vi­ous at­tor­neys with­drew be­cause she had in­suf­fi­cient funds.

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