Court:Husband Not Entitled To Share Wife’s Pension Fund Benefits

Man Spent His Pension On Himself


Court: Husband Not Entitled To Share Wife’s Pension Fund Benefits-Man Spent His Pension On Himself

Culled from Sowetan Live

Court:Husband Not Entitled To Share Wife's Pension Fund Benefits
Court:Husband Not Entitled To Share Wife’s Pension Fund Benefits

A husband who spent his pension fund on himself has lost his entitlement to a share in his wife’s pension fund benefits.

The high court in Johannesburg granted a forfeiture order in favour of the wife after she succeeded in proving to the court that the husband would unduly benefit if the order was not granted.

The parties were married in community of property in May 2018, and agreed that the court may grant a decree of divorce as the marriage had irretrievably broken down. The only issue that was left for the court to determine was whether the husband (plaintiff) was entitled to 50% of the wife’s (defendant) pension fund benefits held with the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF).

According to the husband, he was employed with Toyota Atlas earning a monthly salary of R9,500. He subsequently lost his job and received a pension payout of R57,000. He alleged that he spent the funds by visiting his wife, who at the time was staying in Cape Town.

He stayed in Cape Town for three weeks, however, he could not recall the exact date of his visit except that it was very cold and he had brought groceries with him. He testified that it was during this visit that the marriage broke down, as he discovered that his wife had three other children – as he was only aware of one child.

He further alleged that this was made worse by the non-existent birth of twins purportedly born in July 2020.

There were no attempts made by him to rekindle their marriage after this alleged dishonesty. He argued that he was entitled to 50% of the wife’s pension fund benefits because they were married in community of property.

Despite this argument, no evidence was produced to the court as to what contributions were made by him towards the joint estate. His only contribution was that he “brought groceries and stuff”. When asked to clarify under cross-examination what he meant by “stuff”, he reiterated that he meant groceries.

However, no documentary evidence to prove this contribution was submitted to the court.

In respect of the R57,000 pension payout he received, he argued that he used those funds “taking care of himself for two years”.

The wife testified that she met the husband on Facebook and had been employed by the SAPS for 14 years. She has four minor children whose father passed away in 2019. She argued that the husband knew about the four children before his visit to Cape Town.

He only stayed for a weekend, arriving on Friday and leaving on the Sunday by bus.

She testified that after they got married, she asked for a transfer from SAPS Stellenbosch to move to SAPS Rabie Ridge to be closer to him. She moved to Johannesburg on January 3, 2019, only to find that he “was not warm to her”.

According to the her, the husband would leave the marital home every day before sunrise and would only come back after dark, sometimes he’d not come back at all. She further testified that she used to find condoms and female clothing that did not belong to her in their marital home.

At the end of January, he moved out of the marital home with his bed and fridge, leaving her and the kids with nothing. She recalled feeling alone and this left her in a state of depression because had she known, she would not have relocated.

She said he never once assisted her with anything as she was the one paying rent and doing everything in the marital house, including taking care of the children. She disputed that the husband brought groceries with him when he visited her in Cape Town. She eventually had to move back to Cape Town with the four children.

She said the husband had never contributed to their marriage – financially or emotionally. He did not even give her conjugal rights or any kind of support with the children.

In deciding the matter, the court took into consideration that despite the fact that the duration of the marriage was less than two years, the parties only lived together as husband and wife from at least January 2019 until they separated in March 2020.

The court concluded that the husband failed to prove any meaningful contribution towards the joint estate, be it emotionally, physically, or otherwise.

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