By Fatima Schroeder and Lindsay Dentlinger
City councillor Badih Chaaban had dinner with his 25-year-old wife of less than a year on Tuesday night, just hours after they were divorced in the Cape High Court.
The 48-year-old councillor, born in Lebanon, said his Czechoslovakian-born wife Elena Fedosova was "not very mature", and that they had agreed that marriage was no longer an option for them after 11 months of matrimony.
Chaaban told the Cape Argus on Tuesday they would rather remain good friends, and that was why they decided to have dinner together. In addition, their different religions - he being Muslim and she Russian Orthodox Christian - had also contributed to the failure of the marriage, as did the 23-year age gap, he said.
The couple were married in Milnerton on August 30 last year by an Evangelical Lutheran marriage officer.
Days later he paraded his new wife in public when he launched the National People's Party at a press conference at the St George's Hotel. Overwhelmed by media attention at the time, she introduced herself as "Diana".
He has been married previously, but this was Fedosova's first marriage. Chaaban said she left their common home six months later.
Their "irreconcilable differences" created problems in the marriage and they had agreed to divorce.
Last month the couple entered into a consent paper in terms of which Fedosova acknowledged that the marriage had "broken down irretrievably" and could not be restored.
Chaaban also agreed to pay her a lump sum of R107 000, and she waived her right to claim personal maintenance from him.