Diplomat dodges papgeld and may lose R2.5m house

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Top justices have lambasted a prominent diplomat for not complying with a court order regarding the payment of maintenance.

His mansion too is on the brink of being auctioned to pay the papgeld for his child.

The man, a former deputy ambassador and a senior diplomat attached to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, was ordered to pay at least R150000 and monthly maintenance for his nine-year-old child.

However, the Constitutional Court was told last week that he had paid only the R150000 and not the monthly papgeld of R3900.

Upon hearing of the man's failure to comply with the order, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and his colleagues, justices Johan Froneman and Edwin Cameron, cautioned the man and his counsel for not taking the court seriously.

Cameron took offence when the diplomat's counsel tried to justify their reasons for not paying the additional amount and asked them what they expected the child to eat while the case was in progress.

Justice Zondo reminded the man's counsel that failure to comply with the order was likely to affect his application for the matter to be heard by the Constitutional Court.

The diplomat made an application after unsuccessfully challenging a judgment by the North Gauteng High Court, that ruled that his R2.5-million house be auctioned off to pay a maintenance debt of R306550 accumulated over five years.

During the case, the diplomat had claimed that he was not the father of the child, alleging that his ex-wife had affairs with three high level South Africans who may not be named.

In his application to the Constitutional Court, the diplomat said the high court judgment was unconstitutional because it interfered with his rights to housing.

Counsel representing the child's mother, also a high level government official, argued that the diplomat's application should not be entertained by the court because he had not complied with the court order.

Judgment was reserved.

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