The woman is claiming that her husband only told her he was gay days before their sixth wedding anniversary.
Pretoria – A Cape Town woman is claiming R9.1million in damages from her husband after he told her days before their sixth wedding anniversary that he is gay.
The woman claimed R5m in general damages for emotional pain and psychological trauma as a result of the revelation. The remaining R4m she claimed by way of special damages for the loss of income and “financial prejudice”.
Western Cape High Court Judge Mark Sher said the extraordinary sums she was claiming were based on allegations that her husband “misrepresented to her prior to their marriage that he was a heterosexual male”.
The woman said in believing this, she was induced into marrying him in 2012 “only to be informed by him six years later that he was homosexual”. They have not lived together since.
She said up to the day he told her she had no idea of his sexual orientation.
Judge Sher called the application unusual, not only because of the large amounts claimed, but also because she wanted to cite her in-laws as “interested parties”.
The woman claimed the damages, as well as a contribution to her legal expenses in the divorce case and maintenance pending the divorce by means of a rule 43-application, usually applied to resolve interim maintenance and related issues pending the final divorce.
Judge Sher said rule 43 proceedings were in terms of court rules meant to be crisp with an affidavit briefly setting out the issues. But in this case the woman’s attorney Fareed Moosa chose to throw everything they had at the judge.
This included a historical narrative of how and when the husband revealed his sexuality; how their marriage landed on the rocks and private conversations.
The judge said “it was of great concern to the court” that the one legal bill she had to pay him was R132850 – for services rendered between December 2018 and January 2019, while the second bill she had to foot was R73725.
The judge said her attorneys in fact told her the divorce would cost her a minimum of R946000 for legal fees.
Judge Sher said this seemed to be an excessive amount for a divorce, notwithstanding the parties’ social standing. He struck the rule 43 application from the roll as it ran into more than 368 pages and thus transgressed the court rules
He said it was an abuse of the court process and slapped the attorney personally with the legal bill.
It may not be enrolled again until it complies with the rules.