Judge questions high divorce rate

A Durban High Court judge has questioned several divorce applications being brought by foreigners who married SA women despite not being able to speak English properly.

Last week, Judge Dhaya Pillay said she was concerned about the number of unopposed divorce applications being brought by foreigners, primarily Bangladeshi men.

Pillay made the comments during the divorce application brought by a Bangladeshi man who had been married to a Zulu woman.

The man had an interpreter in court so he could follow the proceedings in Bengali, prompting Judge Pillay to ask how he had communicated with his wife.

She only proceeded with the application after her registrar had contacted the man’s wife and confirmed that she was aware of the divorce proceedings.

Judge Pillay asked the man if it had been a marriage of convenience.

“I have come across four to five of these matters on the court roll and I find it remarkable that these marriages took place between people where they don’t even speak the same language. I am trying to understand what is going on.”

The man replied that he had met his wife at a Victoria Street factory and they had fallen in love.

“I got married for love, not papers. But there is no love and affection.”

Judge Pillay then granted a decree of divorce.

The Home Affairs Department said in a statement that more than 4 000 fake marriages between foreigners and South Africans had been reported in the past few years.

According to the department, marriages of convenience occurred when both parties entered into an agreement to “marry” for purposes such as for monetary gain, or to enable a foreigner to gain permanent residence status.

The department said recently that it would consider taking legal action against South Africans who entered into such marriages. - The Mercury