JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – A dirty divorce and child maintenance legal battle between a Zimbabwean-born millionaire-cum-politician and his South African wife is playing itself out in the North Gauteng High Court where his spouse is demanding R69000 a month for maintenance.
Lawyers for the two parties, who cannot be named to protect the identities of their young children, were in court on Tuesday to discuss the couple’s access to their children and the woman’s demands.
The tycoon owns several companies and assets in the southern African region and is a big political figure in his home country, where he also recently ran for presidential candidacy.
According to court documents the estranged wife is demanding R69000 a month maintenance for her and their three children, aged three, five and seven, after she was financially cut off during divorce proceedings.
She said R14000 was for food, R6000 for entertainment, R4700 for a domestic worker. She needed R10 000 for clothing, beauty and haircare (R4000), cellphone and landline (R1000), data (R1000), gym (R800), petrol (R3000), magazines and periodicals (R500), parking (R300) and medical aid (R8000).
The couple were married in community of property for about nine years and lived happily in their Joburg suburban home until their marriage started to take a knock last year.
This led to the husband proposing a divorce in December before moving into the cottage attached to their matrimonial home.
“Since the divorce started, there has been a lot of turmoil and hence has resulted in him cutting me off, which meant I can’t provide certain stuff for the children,” the woman told The Star on Tuesday.
She also claimed he physically abused her and stopped her from running a small catering business from their home.
During the divorce proceedings, her husband was issued a domestic violence order, which stated that he must pay his wife R7000 monthly as emergency monetary relief.
“Not only is the amount of R7000 wholly inadequate for the maintenance of the minor children and me, but the applicant is also in breach of that order in that he has only made four payments, notwithstanding that he is an extremely wealthy man,” she said in court papers.
She wrote that her estranged husband also stopped the DStv subscription and wi-fi connection, took away her Mercedes-Benz E280 and cut off the family’s medical aid in December last year.
“Since he cut us off it has been very tough. I had to seek relief from back home in KwaZulu-Natal, even though he was still buying a few stuff for the kids, but I have been a stay-at-home mom with the children.
“I know what type of food they eat and for them to be cut off, I’ve had to chip in and seek relief from my family,” she said.
The woman said she does not have any income or assets because her husband wanted her to be a housewife.
“The applicant (husband) used to give me R20000 a month to run the household, which I used towards the children and myself. I spent R10000 a month on groceries,” she wrote.
In his answering affidavit, the husband said his wife’s car was not taken from her but the vehicle was mechanically unsound and could not be driven.
He added that their home wi-fi was not necessary as their children did not use it. He also denied the physical abuse claims.
With regards to the medical aid, he said he removed himself and one of their children from their scheme in October 2017 before joining another one in October last year.
“I am responsible for the reasonable medical needs of the family and have never shirked this responsibility,” he wrote.
The Star attempted to contact the husband’s attorney, Kevin Schaafsma, but he was not available. The husband refused to comment.
“Speak to my lawyer. I am just trying to focus on looking after my children,” he said.
The wife’s attorney, Graeme Krawitz, said that an interim order was handed down yesterday pending the outcome of a report from the family advocate on custody and access arrangements.
“The judge made an order today that he must pay R30000 a month maintenance, pending the outcome of the family advocate’s report and must give her back her car, put her children on medical aid and pay for the maids, car repairs and schooling,” said Krawitz.