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Be careful Mike, breaking your promise to Stella could cost you an arm and a leg!
13 October 2020  | Puleng Valentine Tladi | Views: 332
 
Mike and Stella were highschool sweethearts and have been inseparable. They were a true definition of couple goals. After matric Stella finds out that she is pregnant and unfortunately she can't further her studies as she needs to look after the baby, while Mike gets to further his studies. 

After the birth of their son, Stella looks for a job and gets hired as a police officer, while Mike is busy with his studies. Mike makes a promise to marry Stella and addresses a letter to Stella's parents about his intention to marry Stella as soon as he finishes with his studies and is financially stable. 

Stella and Mike move in together and Stella under the impression that Mike is going to marry her, continues to pay for mike's studies, whilst paying for the household things. 

Four years later, Mike graduates and he relocates to another town to look for a job opportunity. Mike gets the dream job that he has been telling Stella about. He buys a House and Stella contributes towards the new house, with the intention that Mike will marry her. Unfortunately Mike meets Beauty and he dumps Stella and instead pays lobola for beauty.  Stella is left heartbroken and is now the laughing stock, the Talk of the town. 

In this instance Stella has two remedies: 

1. An action for Patrimonial damages;
2. An action for Sentimental damages.  

An action for Patrimonial damages

Stella must prove to Court that she incurred costs as a result of the promise made by Mike to marry her.  for Example Stella can prove that she contributed towards the household things and also paid for Mike's studies as a result of the promise made by Mike to marry her. 

An action for Sentimental damages

This is one of the hardest thing to prove. " In Nhlapo v Zinn (2016/8478)[2017] ZAGP JHC 236, the Court stated that in order for a sentimental damage action to arise, must be wrongful in a delictual sense". The Court will have to apply the objective test, such test is usually used when testing the conduct complained of against the prevailing norms of society. Mike not only made a promise to Stella alone but to her entire family, Mike paid lobola for Beauty instead of Stella, She didn't further her studies as she had to look after the baby and Mike, she bought furniture for a house she wasn't even going to stay in. 
 
Should Stella succeed in the matter, the Court may make the following order: 

Patrimonial damages for an amount equivalent to the amount that she incurred as a result of the breach of promise; and sentimental damage which the Court deems to be just. 

Kindly take note that such matters can really take a long process and do cost a lot of money, bearing in mind that each case has its own merits.