AN unemployed Bulawayo man has approached the court demanding $90 maintenance from his estranged wife who works at a local supermarket.
The woman offered to pay him $8 as spousal maintenance. It was not disclosed in court when the couple separated but they have three children together.
The court heard that the two had been married for four years under customary law.
Mr Simelinkosi Mendi said he wanted $90 for his upkeep as he lost his job sometime in 2016 and he now depends on his ex-wife Mrs Blessing Mendi.
“Since the time l lost my job, I’ve been dependent on my then wife and l was surprised when she suddenly told me she was no longer interested in me and that she wanted to leave.
“Before we could talk about this matter, she ran away leaving the children in my care. She later applied for the custody of our three children at the Western Commonage court,” he said.
“I’ve tried looking for a job but to no avail and l’m pleading with the court that l get spousal maintenance from my ex-wife.”
When the magistrate Ms Ulukile Mlea asked Mrs Mendi how much she was willing to offer, she said she could only afford $8.
“Your worship, I can’t offer much because l’m taking care of the children, I have a maid who needs to be paid and also I don’t earn much.
“I work at OK and l don’t have a fixed salary but it ranges from $100 to $120 excluding over time. Sometimes l earn less than that depending on the hours that I would’ve worked,” she said.
Ms Mlea told the two that a marriage certificate is not a “bread certificate for life”, hence Mr Mendi could not claim money for his upkeep only because he was married to Mrs Mendi.
“Spouses have a duty to maintain each other under common law. It is usually awarded in situations in which there is a substantial difference in the incomes of the spouses or if the other one needs help in taking care of themselves,” said the magistrate.
“I therefore order Mrs Mendi to pay $30 as spousal maintenance with effect from the end of this month and this order remains in force until divorce, death or if Mr Mendi gets back on his feet.”