Durban - The signature on the deed of nomination of the late leader of the Shembe Church is authentic, a forensic document examiner said in the Durban High Court on Tuesday.
“The disputed signature found on the original deed of nomination of trustee and titular head of the Nazareth Baptist Church dated February 11, 2000 and the collected standard signatures submitted contain characteristics which have been associated with the signature authorship of a single individual - namely Bishop Vimbeni Mbusi Shembe,” said forensic document examiner Michael Irving.
Irving was instructed to authenticate the signature of Vimbeni on his deed of nomination dated February, 11, 2000.
He was given six documents with undisputed signatures of Vimbeni which he compared to the signature on the deed of nomination.
“The usual characteristics associated with forgery of a signature are not present in the disputed signature.
“This signature reflects natural line quality, rhythm, pen lines and movement of an established signature model pattern,” Irving said.
The Shembe Church is embroiled in a leadership battle which began last year after its leader Vimbeni Shembe died.
Vimbeni's son Mduduzi and cousin Vela Shembe both want to succeed Vimbeni.
Vela argues that Vimbeni appointed him as a successor in a will, but has failed to convince church elders.
When Irving compared the standard signatures to the disputed signatures he found 27 similar characteristics.
He said he also found three variations of accidental feature in the undisputed signatures.
“This could happen when someone is interrupted or loses concentration while signing a document,” Irving said.
Irving has practised as a forensic expert since December 1996. He has examined 1200 documents since he started practising.
He has been engaged by advocates, attorneys, banking institution, public companies and the SA Revenue Service. - Sapa