The High Court has ordered a small house to pay the wife of her adulterous lover US$13 000 (approximately R240 000) in adultery damages.
In issuing the order, High Court judge Justice Sunsley Zisengwe cautioned that the introduction of civil partnerships under the new Marriage Act does not give small houses and other adulterers a pass to cheat.
Despite the new Marriage Act, the High Court judge insisted that the adultery derelict is still relevant in Zimbabwean society.
Ancercaria Taderera, the mistress of Provincial Medical Director Dr Amadeus Shamu, was ordered by High Court Judge Justice Sunsley Zisengwe to pay Dr Shamu’s wife, Tatyana Shamu, a staggering US$13,000 for adultery.
During the hearing, Justice Zisengwe expressed sympathy for Tatyana as she tearfully testified about the trauma she experienced. Tatyana recounted how her husband constructed a house for his mistress while she, as his wife, had no such luxury. She added that the affair had deeply hurt her.
In passing judgement, Justice Zisengwe said,
“The plaintiff cast a sorrowful and pitiful sight on the witness stand as she recounted the humiliation, pain and indignity she had to endure on account of the adulterous relationship. As a consequence, she lapsed into a depression necessitating medical intervention,” as per the Masvingo Mirror.
According to Justice Zisengwe, the inclusion of civil partnerships in the new Marriage Act, Chapter 5:15, does not negate the offence of adultery. Instead, the primary purpose of civil partnerships is to address the distribution of assets when a relationship has ended.
Justice Zisengwe emphasized that the existence of civil partnerships in the Marriage Act does not excuse or condone adultery. He clarified that the two are separate matters that serve different purposes.
In addition, Justice Zisengwe explained that the inclusion of adultery as a legal offence serves two primary purposes: to act as a deterrent for those who may consider engaging in such behaviour and to protect the institution of marriage. The damages awarded to the innocent party provide some measure of comfort and justice for their suffering, the Judge added.
During the hearing, the defendant’s lawyer argued that including adultery as a legal offence was unconstitutional. However, Justice Zisengwe rejected this argument and dismissed the appeal to make such a declaration. He maintained that the legal prohibition against adultery is necessary and valid in order to uphold the integrity and value of marriage in society.
Tatyana Shamhu, the wife of the Masvingo Provincial Medical Director Amadeus Shamhu, slapped her husband’s small house Ancercaria Taderera with a US$50 000 lawsuit for adultery last year.
The relationship is said to have started in 2011 when Tatyana, who had cancer, was going through chemotherapy.
Court documents indicate that the adulterous affair started in 2011 and has resulted in two minor children.
Shamu and the plaintiff married in Ukraine in 1994 and renewed their vows in Zimbabwe in 2007. They are blessed with two sons.
Tatyana then engaged Taderera, who was the receptionist at Dr Shamhu’s surgery at Sisk Shopping Centre in Mucheke and advised her that she was legally married to Dr Shamhu in terms of the Marriages act Chapter 5:11. Taderera promised to end the affair, and further agreed to pay back all the money that was spent on her by Dr Shamhu.
However, despite several warnings, in 2021, Tatyana discovered that Taderera continued the adulterous relationship with her husband and the two were still seeing each other and communicating secretly via WhatsApp daily.
She further realized that they had sired another child.
In 2022, through her lawyers Chihambakwe Law Chambers, Tatyana sued Taderera demanding US$30 000 for Contumelia (insulting language or treatment) and US$20 000 for loss of consortium (the impact an injury has on the relationship, companionship and support lost).