A businessperson from Pretoria East said he installed web cameras in his bathroom because he suspected that his wife suffered from the eating disorder bulimia.
But his wife said there was no excuse for his behaviour – and claimed that he also sabotaged her car by pouring water into the fuel tank, resulting in the car breaking down 400m from their home.
The couple, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is involved in a bitter legal dispute over where their child, a toddler, should live.
The mother said she and her husband had been separated for some time, but that they still shared a home when he had secretly had the cameras installed.
She was particularly distressed about the camera, which, she claimed, was installed in a shower she used for herself and her child.
She said images of her naked child might have been captured.
The man admitted in court papers that he had the cameras installed, but he said he had done so because he was concerned about the woman’s emotional and psychological state.
There was no ulterior motive, he said.
“The cameras were installed in a corner to capture the toilet area of the bathroom, and no other area. According to my knowledge, the cameras were not installed so that they would be able to capture the shower or the bath.”
Last year Judge Peter Mabuse ordered that the office of the family advocate investigate the best interests for the couple’s child.
In the women’s court papers, she said she and her husband had stopped sharing a bedroom more than two years ago.
She said her husband admitted to installing the cameras.
He gave her a “few excuses” to justify this violation of her privacy, including that she had an eating disorder and that he had installed the cameras on the advice of his attorneys.
The woman also alleged that her husband spent most of his time in his bedroom and that he was involved in “suspicious behaviour” on his computer.
She claimed he was depressed, paranoid and lived like a hermit and that he had alienated her. He was also moody and threw a plate at her on one occasion, she alleged.
In addition, she claimed that he abused alcohol and over-the-counter medication.
The man said in court papers that his wife obtained a court order to take possession of his laptop and tablet computers after finding out about the cameras.
This had resulted in him not being able to do his job properly.
No naked footage of the woman or the child were found on the laptop, he said, because it did not exist.
He denied all her allegations and submitted blood tests to the court to show that he did not abuse medication.
In fact, he said, his wife’s continual, unsubstantiated accusations had been what had led to the breakdown of the marriage.
That was why he withdrew from her, he said.