A former president has been ordered to pay his estranged wife R95,000 a month, plus other expenses, as interim maintenance ahead of their divorce.
The parties cannot be named because of a blanket ruling by the Constitutional Court barring the disclosure of parties in divorce proceedings.
The Rule 43 application was argued before Pietermaritzburg high court acting judge Barry Skinner earlier this week.
During the hearing, the former president’s bank statements were handed in.
Judge Skinner, in his ruling on Thursday, agreed with the contentions of the estranged wife’s advocate Sian Clarence that they showed many large payments going into his account and that he was not just receiving his pension (of about R145,000 a month) as he claimed in his papers.
Skinner dealt at length with some of the payments and cash withdrawals “because in light of them I simply cannot accept the statement by (him), that his only income is the pension he receives”.
“There may well be some explanations for these amounts, and indeed his counsel suggests that it was common knowledge that he owed a very large amount in legal fees, and these could be contributions towards his legal expenses.
“The difficulty with that is it’s speculation, and I cannot see on these accounts entries with the description of legal fees being paid or payments to identifiable attorneys.
“I can only conclude that he has not been candid about his position and that his accounts reflect the inflow of large amounts from sources at present unknown to me.”
Skinner highlighted that as at March 4 this year, he had a credit balance in his First National Bank account of more than R246,000.
As at August 2020, his Absa account had a credit balance of more than R209,000. The bank statement then reflected an unidentified journal debit for the full amount, but the sum did not appear as being received in either his Capitec or FNB account “and is entirely unexplained”.
He said the former president’s statement that the pension was his sole source of income and “I have never been a businessman nor have I had any other business interests” could simply not be accepted.
“There are numerous other credit receipts. He receives R16,739 per month from a Sanlam product known as Glacier.
“His counsel could not explain why this had not been disclosed and attempted to justify it by saying it was a recent receipt. This is not correct. The Absa Bank statements going back to March 2018 show a monthly credit in this amount,” Skinner said.
In February this year, the FNB account reflected six payments in one day of R11,964 each.
“There are on occasion large cash deposits, such as R60,000 (in September 2020), R100,000 (in October 2020) and a mag tape credit of R3,950 (in September 2020).
“While I accept it was some time ago, there was a credit payment in April 2018 (from Ntombela) of R200,000.”
The judge noted the last bond payment of R66,000 had come off in July 2018 “which raises a strong query regarding his contention under oath that he was still paying the bond”.
He said in October 2018, there were credits adding up to R1,158,000, which over the same months was reduced by funds used in the amount of R109,441.
“There are large cash withdrawals on a regular basis,” he said.
Turning to the Capitec account, he said on January 7-10 2020, the account received three payments from “Dudu” for R50,000 each as well as a cheque deposit of R500,000.
Skinner said at the hearing the former president’s lawyers had objected to the use of the statements and claimed they had not been able to take detailed instructions.
“The respondent did not come to court, and was apparently not available on his cellphone after I let the matter stand down for just short of two hours.
“While I accept that he may well have had other exceptionally pressing matters occupying his time, he cannot escape the fact that he was aware that the matter was proceeding in court and chose to make himself uncontactable.
“The statements speak for themselves regarding the flow of funds into and out of his bank account.”
Skinner said after the matter had been fully argued, he received a letter from the former president’s attorneys saying they now had the opportunity to consult and they wanted to file a supplementary affidavit “to be delivered in the course of Thursday”.
They requested that he postpone judgment.
“In my view this is merely a dilatory tactic. There is no right accruing to him to deliver a supplementary sworn statement. This can only be done with the leave of the court on good grounds shown. The letter does not contain any such grounds.
– Sunday Times