Johannesburg – A Soweto businessman has been nabbed for allegedly obtaining a divorce by getting a sheriff to serve a divorce summons on his estranged wife at an unknown address while she lived in the same house as him.
Lopsy Mlangatshe Masango, 77, married Phumzile Lenah Masango in April 2001 in Johannesburg. On December 20, last year the accused divorced his estranged wife as per decree of divorce granted by the South Gauteng High Court.
According to the State, the man allegedly unlawfully and falsely gave out and misrepresented to the court that Phumzile lived in Tembisa, that the sheriff of the court for Kempton Park had served a summons initiating divorce proceedings on her and that he was entitled to be granted a divorce by the court in her absence.
He also wanted the court to dissolve the bonds of marriage between the couple and not order division of the joint estate.
The summons initiating the divorce proceedings was served at an address in Tembisa, however, Phumzile lived in the same house as Masango in Diepkloof, Soweto.
According to the State, Phumzile never lived at the address in Tembisa and she did not receive the summons for the proceedings.
The accused appeared on charges of fraud, forgery, uttering a forged document and defeating the ends of justice, on Thursday at the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, sitting at Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court. He had turned himself over to the police earlier, before he appeared before court.
A source close to the case told The Star that Phumzile found out about the divorce when she went to the Department of Home Affairs and was informed that her marital status had changed from married to divorced.
The source further stated that Masango owned a successful construction company in Soweto and that although the couple did not have children, they adopted two young boys. According to the source, the sheriff did not have reference numbers for the summons that was fraudulently presented in court during the divorce proceedings.
The Star contacted Phumzile, who declined to comment and referred the newspaper to her lawyer, Neo Mashele.
Mashele was, however, unavailable to provide comment by the time of publication.
State prosecutor advocate Richard Chalabala did not oppose Masango’s bail application and was given R2000 bail.