- [Mr] DT v [Ms] BT 2021 (3) SACR 668 (FB)
Mr DT and Ms BT are husband and wife. Ms BT, however, absconded the marital home as the couple was involved in a hostile divorce at the time.
Of importance to readers of this column is that Mr DT unsuccessfully applied for a Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 protection order from the Bloemfontein magistrates’ court, held at Tsepong.
Not satisfied with this outcome, Mr DT appealed to the High Court in Bloemfontein (“the court of appeal”) against the refusal of his application for a protection order.
The court of appeal, inter alia, referred to the reasons for the refusal provided by the presiding magistrate. One of these reasons is that -
“I [the magistrate] find that there are no acts of domestic violence for the reasons that [Mr DT] resides in Pretoria whereas [Ms BT] resides in Bloemfontein”.
(Emphasis added and words and letters in square brackets inserted by Pollex.)
In paragraph  of the judgment of the court of appeal, its response to the magistrate’s reason is that the definition of “domestic violence”, as referred to in section 1 of the Domestic Violence Act, “encompass a wide variety of acts, specifically, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse, that are NOT necessarily restrained by distance”.
The court of appeal further continues that “it stands to reason that in appropriate circumstance the fact that the parties [Mr DT and Ms BT] are far removed from each other, does not per se (by itself/on its own) exclude the possibility of emotional, verbal and psychological abuse because it can be committed via telephonic and digital communication. This [according to the court of appeal] applies equally to harassment* [in Afrikaans text: “teistering”).
According to the court of appeal, a “record of incidents” between Mr DT and Ms BT, was presented to the presiding magistrate. It refers to a list of nine short message services (SMSes) dated from 11 December 2017 to 28 April 2019, and one cellular voice call dated 12 January 2019. The “record of incidents” further contained several correspondences between the parties, as well as a report by the Family Advocate.