A Magaliesburg widow’s spending habits became so out of control that her daughter had to obtain a court order declaring her a prodigal.
Judge Johan Louw granted an order in the High Court in Pretoria declaring Santoinette Elise de Wet a prodigal and interdicting her from dealing with, alienating, mortgaging, or pledging any of the assets in her estate, and from entering into any contracts.
Her son, Jaco, was appointed as curator to control her financial affairs.
De Wet’s daughter, Audrey Robertson, said in court papers her father’s death in 2007 had a major impact on their lives, not just because of the tremendous loss but also because she and her brother had to look after their mother.
Her father had done everything for her mother and provided her with everything she wanted. After his death, she started spending money at an alarming rate, moving around and booking herself on tours and her children had to pay for most of these expenses.
Robertson said her mother had a bad habit of starting expensive new projects and buying everything needed, including lessons, but not finishing any of the undertakings.
Some of these were learning to do oil painting, making cards and quilting.
She had also bought an expensive oxygen machine which she used only once and a costly new laptop to use for a counselling course.
She was still just able to send an e-mail, but needed assistance even with this basic task.
Robertson said her mother had suffered from alcohol and pill addiction for as long as she could remember and had to go to a rehabilitation centre after a relapse.
She then spent R100 000 in a very short time after completing the programme.
Then, she had let strangers into her house for a fumigation quote and paid them in advance for a service that was never delivered.
She was also burgled.
Robertson said she and her brother confiscated their mother’s bank cards, but she opened new accounts and got a credit card or used a copy of her identity document to buy items although she did not have the financial means to pay for her spending sprees.