A Cape Town woman is seeking damages to the sum of R9 million after her husband of six years revealed to her that he is gay.
The unnamed woman has filed an application to the high court in Cape Town asking for R5m for emotional pain and psychological trauma, and R4m for “financial prejudice” and loss of income after dutifully playing wife.
The husband came out to his wife just two months before the couple was expecting to celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary, “since which time they have no longer lived together as man and wife” said Judge Mark Sher in his judgment on Wednesday October 30.
“The basis for the damages claim and the extraordinary sums which are sought … is that the [husband] is alleged to have ‘misrepresented’ to her, prior to their marriage, that he was a heterosexual male who wished to marry her so that they could have children in a heterosexual, monogamous marriage,” said
“[The wife] avers that until this revelation in September 2018 she was unaware of [her husband’s] sexual orientation”.
Judge Sher struck down the application from the roll, made in a rule 43 application, a legal procedure typically used to resolves maintenance and custody issues during the interim period before a divorce is finalised, and ordered the woman’s attorney to forfeit his fees and pay her husband’s costs.
Stating, the woman’s lawyer had thrown everything but “the proverbial kitchen sink” into a 368-page application which was supposed to be a summary. The Judge described this approach as an “irregular step and an abuse of process”, and he ordered the application must not be re-enrolled unless it was done in accordance with rule 43.
“The first part of [the wife’s] affidavit is largely devoted to narrating, in the finest and most intimate detail, how [the husband] came to reveal that he was homosexual,” said Sher.
“It goes on to set out in further explicit detail the contents of highly private and personal communications”.
Sher said the wife’s snooping into the husband’s private internet history and personal communications between him and his priest and the publication of this material “could be said to constitute an unjustified breach of [the husband’s] right to privacy, if not that of [the wife] herself”.
The judge also claimed that the woman was seeking such a high amount in order to pay her excessively high legal fees, which totalled at least R946,000,
“By any standard this seems to be an excessive amount… notwithstanding the parties’ societal standing, [the husband’s] alleged means and the scale of the
litigation thus far,” he said.