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Pretoria – A love triangle in which a man’s first wife claimed she was still married to him and asked to annul his marriage to his second wife, has left a High Court judge in Gauteng, Pretoria , unimpressed.
The judge said the second wife was innocently drawn into the legal feud, which was initiated in bad faith. The judge concluded that the request was “a flagrant abuse of legal process”.
It all started with a petition launched by Rosina Mahlangu against the man she called her husband, Lucas Ntuli, and his second wife, Precious Ntuli.
Mahlangu wanted the court to order Home Affairs to register the customary marriage between her and Ntuli and to annul her second marriage.
The couple, who married in 2007, broke up when Ntuli married his second wife a few years later. But Mahlangu claimed that the Ntulis were never legally married because she was still married to Ntuli when he married his second wife.
While Mahlangu and Ntuli’s marriage was never registered with the Interior Ministry, Mahlangu said it was in effect because they had concluded their lobola negotiations.
She said the wedding was celebrated according to Nguni cultural rites in that the families traded the lobola for a fee of R8,600 plus three live cattle. Ntuli’s family then paid R7,400, and the balance was to be paid later.
Mahlangu said she was handed over to her family and they were allowed to live as husband and wife, although this customary marriage was never registered.
Mahlangu said she left the communal house around 2018 because she was tired of her husband. She claimed they discussed the meeting but never did.
According to Mahlangu, she did not find out that Ntuli was married again a year later when she went to the Home Affairs offices to inquire about her marital status.
She told the court that Ntuli had married civilly at Home Affairs without her consent while she was still married to her in community of property.
Precious Ntuli, meanwhile, disputed that a customary marriage was concluded between Mahlangu and Ntuli.
Precious Ntuli claimed that her husband now wants a divorce. She claimed that he and Mahlangu colluded in this request so that he could be released from his financial obligations to her.
She said her husband had assured her from the start that he and Mahlangu had never been married.
The husband, meanwhile, remained a mother throughout this legal dispute.
Judge JS Nyathi said Mahlangu filed this request about six years after leaving the marital home she shared with Ntuli. The judge said the delay had not been satisfactorily explained. “The first responder (the husband) is the common denominator of both marriages, regardless of their validity or not.
“His version is notoriously absent in this dispute between the two women in his life. His reluctance gives credence to the assertions of the third respondent (Precious Ntuli), that he is the protagonist of this request and finances the request for his own selfish ends, ”said Judge Nyathi.
The judge said Mahlangu was asking the court to essentially grant a divorce decree annulling the civil marriage between the Ntulis and for Home Affairs to register his marriage with Ntuli.
News from Pretoria