Durban - Former rugby player Craig Jamieson says he does not live a lavish lifestyle and recent publicity regarding allegations that he owes more than R300 000 in maintenance to his ex-wife Elizabeth, “have been destructive of my business”.
“I dispute the amount she claims and deny being in contempt of court,” he says in an affidavit filed with the Durban High Court.
The Mercury reported last month about an application launched by Elizabeth, asking that the former scrumhalf and Natal captain be jailed for contempt of court if he continued to refuse to pay up.
Judge Trevor Gorven was highly critical of Jamieson’s stance that the matter was not urgent and threatened to call him into the witness box to explain this. He gave him one week to file opposing papers, which Jamieson has now done.
Apart from insisting that the matter be referred to oral argument – or even to trial – Jamieson has launched a counter-application against Elizabeth, claiming she, too, is in contempt of court regarding other issues relating to their 2001 divorce, an allegation she denies.
Elizabeth first went to court last December in an application for his sequestration, saying she had twice tried to execute writs, but both times the Sheriff had been unable to identify any property in his name.
She said this was at a time when he and his new wife had bought a home in Salt Rock on the North Coast for R4 million.
Jamieson denied he was unable to pay his debts and the matter was never set down for hearing.
In her most recent application Elizabeth complained that he was still not paying maintenance and, if he was not insolvent, the only inference was that he was deliberately ignoring a court order.
Jamieson says the applications seek to embarrass him into paying a “disputed debt” and claims he owes only about R47 800.
“Our relationship since our divorce has been extremely tumultuous,” he said, referring to a previous legal wrangle in which Elizabeth seized – and then later had to return – a watch that had sentimental value from Jamieson’s rugby days.
“I am being out-lawyered,” he said, referring to the fact that she is a practising attorney and alleging she has access to free legal advice.
He said in 2008 he had returned to KwaZulu-Natal from Cape Town and had set up a brokerage business, but it had been unsuccessful and he had not earned an income for more than two years.
“I was unable to make the payments demanded by her and I advised her of this on many occasions. This (application) is designed to put me in a poor light. She is fully aware of the difficulties I have sustained in trying to create a business for myself.”
He said the judge’s comments had resulted in a “tremendous fallout” in his business.
In her replying affidavit Elizabeth says in his own version he is guilty of contempt.
“It seems while he is unable to pay the entire amount, he is in a position to pay some but is stubbornly refusing to do so. He has never advised that he is not in a financial position to pay nor has he gone to court for a reduction.
“On his own version he owes R47 800, but there is no explanation why he has not paid and why his calculations stop in April 2010.
“He has not explained how he and his wife were able to afford to pay R4 million for a house at the same time I was seeking to execute a writ against him.
“I have no desire to see him committed to prison. But he is ignoring a court order. I am at a loss to know how else I can get him to pay. Punishing him for his behaviour is probably appropriate.”
Regarding the issue with the watch, she said she had agreed to give it back because, “I discovered it was a worthless fake”.
She said the publicity surrounding the issue was because “he is regarded as a public figure in KZN” and it was his obstinate attitude in suggesting the matter was not urgent which caused the judge to issue such a stern warning to him.
“He is in this position because of his own attitude and actions,” she said.
The case has not yet been set down for hearing.