Main­te­nance de­fault busi­ness­man gets tongue lash­ing from judge

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Mashudu Net­sianda

A HIGH Court judge blasted a prom­i­nent Bu­l­awayo busi­ness­man and for­mer South African Air­ways (SAA) boss, de­scrib­ing him as a spoilt and ir­re­spon­si­ble man who en­joys a lux­u­ri­ous life at the ex­pense of his own chil­dren.

Bu­l­awayo High Court judge Jus­tice Ni­cholas Mathonsi made the re­marks on Mon­day as he dis­missed an ap­peal by El­phias Maphisa (61) chal­leng­ing his con­vic­tion and sen­tence af­ter de­fault­ing in pay­ing main­te­nance for his child.

Maphisa, for­merly em­ployed by the SAA as an ac­coun­tant, is in main­te­nance ar­rears of $2 475.

He was sen­tenced to eight months in jail for de­fault­ing in pay­ing main­te­nance for the up­keep of his mi­nor child sired out­side mar­riage.

Bu­l­awayo mag­is­trate Ms Glad­more Mushove last year sen­tenced Maphisa to eight months in prison which she wholly sus­pended on con­di­tion that he cleared the main­te­nance ar­rears.

Jus­tice Mathonsi, who was sit­ting at the crim­i­nal ap­peals court with Jus­tice Maxwell Takuva, said Maphisa’s con­duct was de­spi­ca­ble given his so­cial sta­tus.

“The court is not im­pressed by the as­ser­tion that a 61-yearold qual­i­fied ac­coun­tant who was pre­vi­ously em­ployed by South African Air­ways and owns an apart­ment in Jo­han­nes­burg’s Kemp­ton Park could not find em­ploy­ment. It oc­curs to us that the ap­pel­lant is a spoilt man who is ex­tremely ir­re­spon­si­ble,” said the judge.

Jus­tice Mathonsi said Maphisa was in the habit of sir­ing chil­dren with dif­fer­ent women and then leav­ing the moth­ers with the sole bur­den of look­ing af­ter the mi­nors.

“You’ve ac­tu­ally made it a habit to sire chil­dren with six dif­fer­ent women and then ab­scond from the re­spon­si­bil­ity, leav­ing the moth­ers to solely pro­vide for your chil­dren,” said the judge.

Jus­tice Mathonsi dis­missed the ap­peal, say­ing base­less and lacked merit. it was

“Your con­duct is de­spi­ca­ble and surely you can­not ex­pect to have the com­fort of stay­ing in a lux­ury house in a leafy sub­urb while not pro­vid­ing for your child. There is no merit in the ap­peal and the ap­pel­lant clearly has means to take care of his child, and ac­cord­ingly the ap­peal is dis­missed,” ruled the judge.

The State, which was cited as the re­spon­dent in the mat­ter, op­posed the ap­peal.

Mrs Si­fiso Sibanda from the Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Author­ity ar­gued that Maphisa had means to com­ply with the court or­der.

“It’s my hum­ble sub­mis­sion that the ap­pel­lant doesn’t seem to be a man of no means. Ap­pel­lant al­ludes to the fact that he is an ac­coun­tant and does books for Pat­a­p­ata Beer Gar­den on a quar­terly ba­sis and he can find sim­i­lar jobs and work for a liv­ing,” she said.

Mrs Sibanda said Maphisa, who also owns a 10-roomed house in Ku­malo sub­urb, has an op­tion to lease out the prop­erty and raise money for the up­keep of his child.

Maphisa’s main­te­nance was pegged at $450 per month be­fore it was later re­duced to $225 per month.

The busi­ness­man, through his lawyer Ad­vo­cate Lu­cas Nkomo, said he was an in­di­gent who could not com­ply with the court or­der since he had no means to take care of his child.

He ar­gued that be­cause of his age, chances were very slim that he could se­cure an­other job.

Maphisa said he had two other mi­nor chil­dren who are be­ing looked af­ter by their moth­ers in South Africa.

The busi­ness­man was on April 17, 2013, or­dered to pay monthly main­te­nance of $450 for his mi­nor child.

The fee was later re­duced to $225, but Maphisa de­fied the or­der and did not pay the fees be­tween July and De­cem­ber 2013, re­sult­ing in him ac­cu­mu­lat­ing ar­rears of $2 475. — @ mash­nets.

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