Judge makes ‘example’ of him

13 Nov 2015 | Daily Dispatch | By SIYA BOYA | siyab@dispatch.

 AN EASTERN Cape surgeon has been ordered to spend a month in jail by the East London High Court and pay his ex-wife almost half a million rand for defaulting on his maintenance payments.

Dr Roy Potelwa and his wife Princess had been trying to dissolve their marriage of more than two decades since 2008.

In June 2014, when Judge Glenn Goosen granted the final divorce order, he told Potelwa to pay his wife maintenance and keep up the lifestyle she was used to. Potelwa failed to do so and now his contempt of court orders will exact a high price.

Yesterday, advocate Shaughan Cole, for Princess, told the high court that while Potelwa had little respect for the court, a jail term could be extreme.

But Judge Lusindiso Pakade was not pleased with Potelwa’s behaviour and said an example should be made out of him.

Neither Potelwa nor Princess was in court. Potelwa’s attorney, Nelson Nombambela, said his client should not be arrested because he was a “professional”. “This is a doctor.” Pakade said: “A professional who does not care about the law.”

Nombambela continued: “In fact, he is not just any practioner, he is a district surgeon.

“This will affect not only him, but others as well.”

Pakade replied: “Well, that is good. Then this will be a lesson to who all who are in contempt. They must know the law applies to all, even district surgeons.”

According to the order, Potelwa is sentenced to 12 months in prison, 11 months of which are suspended for five years if he complies with Goosen’s order and does not defy future maintenance obligations during the period of suspension. He is also ordered to:

● Pay Princess R373 281.33 for arrears maintenance in 15 days;

● Pay her R16 500 a month for July, August, September, October and November; ● Pay interest on the arrears; ● Transfer assets to her; ● Provide her with a new Mercedes-Benz with a full service plan and insurance cover;

● Pay R16 500 a month from December 1 until she dies or remarries; and

● Provide proof she is on his medical aid.

The couple tied the knot in 1984 and have six adult children.

In her court papers, Princess said her husband had tried to appeal Goosen’s ruling but his application for leave to appeal was dismissed and his petition to the Supreme Court of Appeal was also dismissed.

“[He] simply cut me off from my financial resources … I have been unable to secure employment in 2015 and have been relying on friends and family,” she told the court.

Potelwa said she was a “welleducated professional” who used to lecture at a university. “I deny that she relies on the goodwill of friends and relatives.

“She has inherited substantial assets from her parents’ estate.”

Potelwa said he had taken Goosen’s order to the Constitutional Court and that because all the children were adults, he was not legally obliged to make such payments to Princess.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Potelwa said he was not aware of the latest developments and “did not want to hear it from [the media]”.