‘Cheating’ husband still entitled to share wife’s pension money

Pretoria – A Limpopo woman whose husband divorced her after 35 years of marriage lost her legal bid not to share her pension of more than R2.8 million with him.

The woman, who cannot be identified as her application in the Polokwane High Court forms part of a divorce action, asked for an order that her now former “cheating” husband forfeit 50% of her pension money

The parties were married in community of property and thus the husband was entitled to half of everything. But the woman said his behaviour, which according to her led to their eventual divorce, should be condemned by way of ordering that he forfeit his share of her pension fund.

The court, however, ruled against the woman and ordered that the husband should receive his share. This was because the woman knew for about a decade about his alleged infidelity, yet she chose to ignore it.

The woman, a retired teacher, testified that she and her husband got married in community of property in 1985. She stated that on her retirement from active service in 2019 she was paid a lump sum pension benefit of R2 840 000

According to her, her husband should forfeit his share, due to his “misconduct.”

She testified that her application for forfeiture was based on the misconduct on the part of the respondent (husband) and the circumstances that gave rise to the breakdown of the marriage.

She said the problems in their marriage started during 2007, when her husband started having an extra marital affair with one of his employees. She became aware of this after someone phoned her and told her about the affair.

According to her, she and her husband from time to time fought about his affair.

She confronted him about it at the time and she told the court that her husband then assaulted her, by biting her finger.

The woman said since that incident things had got worse and they eventually decided to see a marriage counsellor together.

“During the session, he told the counsellor that this extramarital affair is something that is in him. He also said that if there is a man who does not have a mistress, that man is a fool,” the wife told the court.

According to her, her husband also told the counsellor that he would never stop having mistresses. She said that was when she told the counsellor that she did not see the session going anywhere.

She told her husband at the time that she was adamant that they must remain husband and wife, but that they would not share conjugal rights or be intimate with each other until he told her that he was “tired of having mistresses”.

But things did not change, she said, as she on occasion caught her husband and his mistress in his parked car.

She also discovered that he had given his mistress some of the herd of cattle which she and her husband had accumulated over the years.

The husband, on the other hand, denied that he had an affair and said the woman whom his wife claimed was his lover, was simply a business associate whom he from time to time gives business advice to.

Regarding the missing cattle, he said that some were sold to buy feed for the rest, some were stolen and others had died.

He eventually initiated the divorce proceedings around 2017, as he claimed that they had simply drifted apart. The husband also complained that his wife withheld conjugal rights.

In turning down the wife’s application for her husband to forfeit 50% of her pension money, the court said that she, on her own accord, had given the respondent permission to continue having extramarital affairs “until he got tired of that”.

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