Three wives, 11 kids and a huge child-support bill
A first-year student has asked the Durban High Court to order her father - an anaesthetist with three wives and 11 children - to pay her university costs.
The affluent doctor's daughter joined thousands of disadvantaged students by applying for a student loan to fund her education but the 19-year-old was turned down because of her father's income.
In court papers, the student explained that she chose to study at Stellenbosch University because she was offered reduced fees.
However, her father is required to pay her university fees, and for textbooks, flights between Durban and Cape Town, plus R5500 a month for expenses, R4300 for student accommodation and R8000 for a laptop computer.
Under the law, a parent who can afford to must educate a child, regardless of age, to at least his own level of education.
The legal obligation also takes into account what has been provided for other children.
The anaesthetist has paid university fees for two other children, one of whom studied in Perth, Australia.
Eight of the children are enrolled at Crawford College, with the bill for this year amounting to about R350000.
He also pays R7200 in school fees for a special-needs child.
"Considering our standard of living, and the amount that he paid for Crawford College, I find it unbelievable and, in fact, rather insulting, that he refers to my tertiary education and related expenses as outrageous demands," the student said in her affidavit.
In an e-mail to his daughter's attorney, the doctor said his children were able to go to expensive schools because they were paid from a family trust that generated income from property and sales.
He said he could not guarantee payment of the applicant's fees because he was self-employed and had 10 other children.
She said that, although her father might have overcommitted himself, "it cannot be said that he is impecunious".
"I further submit that, if his claim is correct, that he is currently financially embarrassed, that there are many avenues available to him to correct the situation that do not include reneging on his moral commitment and legal duty to support me in order for me to obtain a degree," the student said.
After a letter of demand, her father paid R20000.
"I was able to get to Cape Town and register at university by utilising the last of my monies that I had in my bank account," she said.
Her attorney, Hylton Lutge, said the student's requirements were not excessive.
"They are her basic needs. She requires a laptop and certain things to be able to complete her degree.
"I don't believe that we have asked for anything that was above and beyond what any normal daughter would be entitled to," the lawyer said.
The father's attorney, Bradley Aliphon, declined to comment until his client had filed responding papers.
- The anaesthetist has asked a court to sanction the cessation of payments of R20000 a month in maintenance to his first wife.
In his affidavit, he claims that she derives a sufficient income from selling vegetables from a smallholding and that she would receive R800000 from the sale of the family trust's properties.