Daughter (26) sues businessman for maintenance

Gibson Mhaka
IN a child support case that is set to put to test the provisions of the Maintenance Act, a prominent Gwanda-based businessman Shorayi Zonde is being sued by his 26-year-old daughter who is demanding $2 000 and $390 as tuition fees and monthly living expenses respectively.

In her suit filed at the Bulawayo Maintenance Court under case Number M2425/ 15, Nosimilo Tamarisk Zonde, a single mother of a four-year-old child claimed that her father “abandoned” her when she was young.

She said she now wants him to fulfill his fatherly duties by paying her tuition fees and living expenses to make up for all the time she wished she had a father.

She further claimed maintenance was the only way to stop her from becoming a prostitute or a street adult eating in dustbins.

Nosimilo, who once worked as a waitress at a local restaurant, claimed her “rich” father allegedly infringed on her right to education when he neglected her when she was in Form Three.

“In terms of the Maintenace Act (Chapter 5:09) I am seeking to claim maintenance from the respondent Shorayi Zonde who is my father.

“I wish to claim as follows $2 000 as university fees per year and $390 per month as living expenses. The respondent is legally able to maintain the applicant since he is a businessman and getting approximately $5 000 per month,” reads part of Nosimilo’s summons.

In response her father through his legal representative, although he admitted that the applicant was his biological daughter he sired out of wedlock with Lorraine Sibanda, however, dismissed her claim saying the case was a
“unique” one for an adult who is 26 years old and with a four-year-old child to claim maintenance from a parent.

“The case is a unique one. Applicant is an adult who is 26 years old and has a four-year-old child. I was advised that she was once married to the father of the child. Although her application is based on the Maintenance Act (Chapter 5:06), a child can only claim maintenance from a parent when he or she is a minor or below the age of 18. There is no provision in the (Maintenance) Act where a major child can initially claim maintenance from his or her parents,” argued Zonde through his lawyer.

“I know it’s a special case when a 26-year-old person like me is claiming maintenance from her parent. What my father should understand is that for me to work I need to have proper education but I never got that education.

“If my father had paid my school fees surely I would not be in court claiming maintenance and I would have been independent like my peers. I attained 18 years of age with no education and as someone who is not educated I can’t get a good job unless if I become a thief, prostitute, cleaner or a street adult eating in dustbins and sleeping on the floor.

“My father did not fulfill his fatherly duties. He only paid my fees up to Form Three and at that level you are not taught to be a lawyer or doctor as you need further education. If my father had not infringed on my right to education I would have finished school and I can even bring my school reports to show that I am not dull,” she said.

The case is now before the High Court pending its finalisation after Zonde apparently felt that the presiding magistrate Adelaide Mbeure “erred” by not issuing a default judgment against his daughter when she failed to attend the court on 5 January for the finalisation of their case.

Legally, and in a case like this when a plaintiff fails to turn up without a satisfactory reason to defend herself or himself judgment is passed in favour of the respondent, something Zonde allegedly felt was not done in this case.

The magistrate in fact postponed the matter to another date prompting Zonde to approach the High Court challenging the decision.