FW de Klerk dragged into son's battle with ex-wife

03 March 2019 - 00:00 By SHAIN GERMANER

Former president FW de Klerk is once again set to be dragged into a long-running financial feud between his son Willem and Willem's ex-wife.
After struggling for years to get Willem to pay maintenance, Nicole Noordien is, for the second time, approaching his father, claiming that as her children's grandfather he has a responsibility to step in if his son cannot afford maintenance.
Noordien's previous attempt, in 2012, failed because at the time there was still a maintenance order against Willem, and the judge ruled that this order would have to be terminated before she could pursue payment from FW.
Noordien's lawyer, Anya Kurdziel-Audagnotti, said an application was under way at the Randburg maintenance court to drop the maintenance obligation against Willem.
The application will be based on Willem's lack of income, which he claimed in an e-mail to Noordien's lawyers in January 2018.
In the e-mail he writes: "I am currently unemployed and do not have access to any funds whatsoever. My elderly and unhealthy father has made it abundantly clear to me (and my former wife) that he is not in a position to assist financially in any way.
"To continue harassing him would not only be cruel, but also futile."
Kurdziel-Audagnotti said that following the court's removal of maintenance obligations against Willem, she would pursue the order against FW, and has already notified Willem's and FW's legal teams of this.
Noordien said that after two years without maintenance from her ex-husband, her children's school fees are R80,000 in arrears.
She said she had no option but to return to court to force FW to support his grandchildren.
"The least they can do is help me with [the children's] education," Noordien told the Sunday Times this week.
"[FW] was the former minister of education, he's a Nobel peace prize winner, he's the ex-president. He can't just dump these kids . telling me as an unemployed single mother to go and fend for myself.
"I've never demanded anything besides basic things for the kids. For me to struggle for the basic necessities is unreal, coming from a family that can help but don't want to. They don't want to go that extra mile for the children. They presume I can do it all by myself."
Willem told the Sunday Times his former wife was trying to "yet again embark on a crusade in the courts and in the media with the sole purpose of vilifying and persecuting me and to terrorise my elderly father".
Regarding his alleged failure to pay maintenance, he said: "Notwithstanding the fact that I have not had the privilege of fixed employment since 2007, my former wife and my children have extensively benefited from the largesse of me and my family.
"My former wife simply refuses to accept that I am not wealthy. This has informed behaviour where she has consistently and misguidedly sought to extort contributions from my father when I have been unable to meet her often extravagant demands."
He said he was making every attempt to comply with the maintenance order.
"I have also gone to great lengths in explaining to them the day-to-day constraints of not being employed. Perhaps my former wife, living in Saxonwold and driving a Mercedes, should also seek to find gainful employment rather than squander our scarce combined resources on fruitless and unnecessary litigation," he said.
Noordien instituted divorce proceedings against Willem 12 years ago. She secured an interim order, pending the finalisation of their divorce, obliging Willem to pay monthly maintenance.
Noordien said that for the first few months, Willem obeyed the order, but the amounts steadily decreased and payments became more erratic.
In 2012, she launched her unsuccessful action against FW, seeking R33,000 a month - almost double the amount of the agreed maintenance from Willem, as ordered by the court.
FW de Klerk Foundation executive director Theuns Eloff declined to comment.
Responding to an e-mail query to FW, his personal assistant, Brenda Steyn, wrote: "I contacted former president De Klerk, who is currently overseas, and he has no comment at this stage."..

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