Divorced? no, married

Thulare Mafa, 54,discovered that his ex-customary law wife married him without his knowledge. Pic. Juda
Thulare Mafa, 54,discovered that his ex-customary law wife married him without his knowledge. Pic. Juda

Sipho Masombuka

Sipho Masombuka

An enraged 54-year-old Soshanguve, Pretoria man has accused his former wife of stealing his identity document and registering their annulled customary marriage.

Sowetan is in possession of a copy of the minutes of the family meeting when the marriage was annulled.

A frustrated Thulare Mafa, pictured, told Sowetan that he discovered in November last year that he was legally married to Sejabuledi Mona- heng when he went to the Department of Home Affairs' offices in Nigel.

"I paid lobola for her in March 1996, but we separated in August 2005. She stole my identity document and the lobola agreement letter to register the customary marriage after we had parted ways," said Mafa.

"I do not know my ex-wife's reasons for registering our marriage after we had separated.

"I think she wants to benefit from my estate when I die. I would not have known that she had married me if I did not check my marital status," said Mafa.

Mafa has six children, four from his first marriage and two with Monaheng. He said Home Affairs' officials told him he needed a lawyer to cancel the marriage.

Mafa opened a case of fraud against Monaheng at Mabopane police station.

Pretoria police spokesman Inspector Paul Ramaloko confirmed the case but said it was later withdrawn because of lack of evidence.

Home Affairs spokesman Mantshele Tau said in terms of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, it was the duty of spouses in such unions to ensure that their marriages were registered.

"Either spouse can register such a marriage if it complied with all the stipulations of the act and if it was entered into according to the usages and customs usually observed by the different cultural groups of South Africa. Mrs Mafa, therefore, could register their marriage without him being present," said Tau.

"It is possible that his wife requires the marriage certificate for divorce," Tau said.

Monaheng could not be reached for comment.