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MBABANE – A pastor is demanding over E3.5 million from his wife after she allegedly made him enter into a fake marriage with her.

A fake or sham marriage is one of convenience, entered into purely for the purpose of gaining a benefit or other advantage arising from that status, according to the law dictionary. Pastor Sipho Timothy Matsebula alleged that his wife of 12 years ‘let the cat out of the bag’ when she allegedly revealed that she married him to conveniently pursue her career. These are allegations contained in Matsebula’s affidavit whose veracity is yet to be tested in court and the wife is yet to file her responding papers. Matsebula said this had made him feel manipulated and emotionally hurt. The man of the cloth has instituted legal proceedings against his wife Philile Happiness Matsebula born Mamba, who is employed by First National Bank (FNB) Swaziland. The exact amount which the man of the cloth is demanding from his wife is E3 585 000. On top of the money, Matsebula wants the court to issue a decree of divorce between him and Philile.
This amount is in respect of the following: bride price (lobola) and gifts to her family, wedding costs, her academic studies, maintenance and support as well as gifts and other necessities, loss of dignity, loss of consortium and in respect of restitution arising out of the alleged misrepresentation.

In his particulars of claim, Matsebula (pastor) stated that they got married to each other in terms of civil rites, in community of property, on November 19, 2005. He  mentioned that inspite of marrying in terms of  civil rites, as a  show of love and affection towards his wife, he paid lobola in the amount of E60 000 in August 2005, including gifts to the defendant’s (wife) family members. The man of the cloth pointed out that one child was born out of the marriage.
“I subscribe to the Christian faith and religion, and at the time of the marriage, the defendant (wife) was well aware of this fact, to an extent that I am a pastor in my church. She at first supported me in my religious duties,” alleged the pastor. He averred that at the time of the marriage, he was already a qualified accountant, employed at the offices of the Auditor General as an Auditor. Matsebula submitted that his wife, on the other hand, had neither any professional qualification nor was she employed. “With the underlying intent of creating a firm foundation and a stable future for ourselves as a married couple, we agreed that I would from my salary; fund her education so that she could attain an academic qualification,” submitted Matsebula. He told the court that he lectured his wife on AAT courses from NVQ Level Four and also funded examination fees for all levels.

According to the pastor, the defendant enrolled at Charted Institute of Professional Education which was owned by him in Manzini, and she completed in 2004. “Thereafter, the defendant was employed at Standard Bank as a Teller in Matsapha and later got a job with the Treasury Department pursuant to her attaining academic qualification,” submitted Matsebula. He pointed out that he did not cease to develop himself professionally, as he would enrol from time to time for academic studies abroad. “Sometime in 2012, our marriage hit a rough patch and we started experiencing serious marital problems,” submitted the pastor.

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