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Wiese pension case

The Mathilda Wiese case recently made headlines again in our newspapers where there was another decision in favour of her.

In this famous case in the Cape Mrs. Wiese had divorced a policeman and taken it to court when his pension fund did not want to pay out her share of the pension immediately as is encouraged by our “clean break principle” in our divorce law.  The High Court declared the Government Employees Pension Law inconsistent with the Constitution.

It was in July 2011 when Mrs. Wiese achieved this success in her case.  It was recently on 30 March 2012 in court again where the court had to decide on the legal costs aspect.  Mrs. Wiese was successful here too.  The Minister of Finance was ordered to pay Wiese’s legal costs.  These costs would include the legal fees owing by Wiese to her attorney and advocate.

Wiese was no doubt overjoyed with this decision on the costs aspect.  According to reports after her divorce she had lost everything, including her home in Malmesbury.  She was in desperate need of her share of her ex-husband’s pension.

Legal costs in these matters can run into the hundreds of thousands.  Wiese’s legal team had taken on the case in the hope of achieving a costs order.  And here they were successful.

The Judge in this case was Justice Bess Nkabinde.  This was no doubt the correct decision on the costs aspect, as Wiese had been successful in it being proven that she was owed at least R295 781.00 from her ex-husband’s pension.

Very often in these matters there are “many battles in the war” however.  The next “battle” is for Mrs. Wiese to prove exactly how much she is owed.  That R295 781.00 referred to above is the amount owed to her at the time of divorce only.

Wiese’s argument is going to be that more is in fact owing to her.  She may well succeed with this argument.  One must work out the growth on the share due to her up until finalisation of the case.  The divorce was some time ago and this case on the pension has taken a long time to reach finality.

It was good to see Mrs. Wise being awarded costs in the meantime.  This was correct in the light of the constitution and our rapidly changing pension laws.

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