File picture: Independent Media Archives

Pretoria - A woman who claims she had to give up her car and job in order to become the good housewife her now estranged common-law husband wanted, is claiming R63 100 a month in maintenance from him.

The 30-year-old from Midrand said during their union of about two years she worked her fingers to the bone in the house, during which time he gave her an allowance. She thus became accustomed to a certain way of living. She turned to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, where she claimed spousal maintenance of R63100 pending their divorce.

Included in the list of her monthly expenditure, handed to court to motivate for the maintenance, was a demanded for R10 000 a month for her hair and nails and R2500 a month for food. She also wanted him to return the Jeep Wrangler bearing his name as the personal number plate.

The woman, who cannot be named as divorce proceedings are pending, said her self-employed husband gave her the vehicle for her personal use. She said her husband owned seven other luxury cars, including a Jeep SRT8, Mercedes Vito and Audi A3.

The husband, on the other hand, denied he was liable for maintenance as he said he was never married to her. He said payment of lobola had not been finalised and the customary marriage had not yet been celebrated in terms of customary law. Besides, he said, she was never handed over to his family.

But the woman gave the court a handwritten note from his family in which it was stated how much lobola had to be paid. According to her, the negotiations were done and dusted. She said as it was stated in the note, her husband’s family brought a sheep, coffee, tea, sugar, milk, a doek and a shawl to the lobola meeting. Lobola was set at R80 000, “being 10 cows”.

According to her, a portion of this money was paid and it was agreed that the rest would be paid later. The two of them, however, started staying together as husband and wife before the lobola negotiations began. She was at the time employed and she owned a car.

“He convinced me to quit my job and to return my car. He asked me to be a housewife and said he would take care of my needs. He also promised me another car I did all the household chores while he was at work.”

She said he gave her R10 000 a month for her to “take care of all her needs as a woman” and he paid her other bills, such as her cellphone. A year after they moved in together, he became controlling and denied her interaction with her family of friends, she said.

“He said he had paid lobola for me and as such, I am supposed to be behind closed doors at all times.”

She said he treated her like his commodity and she had simply had enough. So once when he left on a business trip, she fled to a friend’s house, taking the Jeep with her. Her husband, however, reported the car as stolen and later fetched it from her. The woman complained that life had become difficult, as she had to “squat” with a friend and she had to do without her “comforts. Now I don’t have a job and I have no car. I have to use public transport”.

The application was this week postponed indefinitely.

Pretoria News