Bad husband loses his matrimonial benefits

Bad husband

Reprinted from, by Zelda Venter – 2024-06-14

An unemployed husband, who said he financially took care of the family during his marriage and whose wife said his source of income derived from criminal activities, has lost his share of his wife’s pension when they divorced.

The husband turned to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, for a divorce order, including that as he and his wife were married in community of property and that he receive his half share of her government pension fund.

The wife, on the other hand, asked that he forfeit his portion of her pension as he did not deserve it.

The court heard that for the larger part of their 24-year marriage, the husband had not been employed and, according to him, he was, at present, unemployed. For brief and sporadic periods during the marriage, he had managed to earn an income.

The man explained that that was via an award in respect of a Road Accident Fund claim at some stage and he said he was the chairperson of a social club and had access to the funds through loans.

The husband said he was also the director of a closed corporation which had received two contracts – one for a project at Kalafong Hospital and the other for paving.

While the husband did not disclose to the court the income he had derived from the closed corporation, the court said it appeared that he had not generated an income through the CC.

“His version is, after all, that he is unemployed,” Judge Brenda Neukircher said.

The wife said her husband’s source of income had been derived from “illegal and/or criminal activities such as the dealing of drugs from the matrimonial home”.

Judge Neukircher said one must bear in mind that the husband had contributed (according to his version) R150 000 towards the deposit and transfer of their common home in 2001. He had testified that the source of this money was “savings” from his social club activities but had failed to elaborate further.

“His evidence was also that he purchased 90% of the furniture for the home. Again, this leads to the inevitable question: With what funds?” the judge said.

“Yet it is common cause that she is dependent on the financial support from the defendant (mother) and so the question is: How does the plaintiff (husband) presently support himself, especially as in his evidence he denied that he has a source of income from the social club?” the judge said.

The wife told the court that her husband was involved in illegal activities and, in particular, had dealt in drugs from the home. She testified that when he had been doing his washing one day, she had found a packet containing a white substance and a straw.

The wife said he had failed to support the family and was physically, verbally and emotionally abusive.

The husband denied this. He said he had left their home “to avoid being a perpetrator of what is now called GBV and to avoid violence in the house”.

He also admitted to having had abandoned the home from time to time because “it was better than being provoked into a fight”.

“All-in-all, the plaintiff and his version did not impress me. It was clear that his versions regarding his income were not truthful. (The) defendant, on the other hand, made a favourable impression. Where required, her version was supported by the documentary evidence and it is clear that throughout the marriage, she has been the stable stalwart,” the judge said.

“Whilst this is legally correct, in my view, he will be unduly benefited were the forfeiture order in respect of the defendant’s pension benefit not be granted.”

Judge Nuerkircher noted that while, on paper, the marriage had lasted 24 years, in reality, it had lasted six years as the wife had moved out of the matrimonial bedroom a long ago. He had failed to support his family. His wife had to, at a stage, sell atchar and Tupperware to make ends meet.

Cape Town family lawyer can help

SD Law is a firm of attorneys in Cape Town. We’ll help you negotiate a divorce that is fair, right for your family and secures your future. We will protect your interests and ensure a fair division of property and assets, with or without forfeiture of benefits, as appropriate, and we will do so with sensitivity and compassion. Call Simon now on +27 (0) 86 099 5146 or email

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