DNA test challenged in citizenship dispute

2013-01-15 00:00

THE head of communications for the KZN Legislature, Leon Mbangwa, is still fighting the Department of Home Affairs for SA citizenship,

The dispute dates as far back as 2005.

The authorities do not accept that DNA tests carried out in terms of a settlement agreement (reached in 2011) conclusively prove that Mbangwa is indeed the biological son of the late Mabel Mbangwa, a South African woman, according to the latest affidavit filed in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday by Gcwelumusa Khwela, deputy director-general, counter corruption and security, in the Department of Home Affairs.

Mbangwa’s attorney, Michelle Naidoo of Norton Rose, however, took issue with this yesterday, and said the tests were carried out at an independent laboratory selected by the department.

“We had agreed that if there was an 80% probability that Leon is the natural son of Mabel Mbangwa, then he would be entitled to his SA citizenship plus the costs of the case.”

She said the department had failed to honour its agreement, despite an outcome indicating a 99% match between the blood samples obtained from Mbangwa and his sister.

To date, the state had not provided any evidence to back up subsequent claims that there was something irregular about the test or scientific proof that the outcome showed that Mabel Mbangwa was not her client’s biological mother.

She said Mbangwa had agreed to the “invasive” tests in good faith in a bid to settle the dispute, and he and his family were being prejudiced by the delay in finalising the matter.

In his affidavit, Khwela said the blood test results indicated that the person whose blood was tested — ostensibly Mbangwa’s half-sister (Theodora) — was almost certainly a full sibling of Mbangwa, as opposed to his half sibling, as he had alleged.

In these circumstances, he said, the department requested that additional tests be done, but Mbangwa had rejected the proposal.

Khwela said part of the settlement agreement stipulated is that if the DNA tests were inconclusive — which the department maintains they are — either of the parties was entitled to call for further tests.

The case has been adjourned indefinitely pending Mbangwa’s reply to the allegations.

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