IN a case of paternity fraud akin to bereavement, a Bulawayo man now based in the United Kingdom had been living a lie after he was tricked by his estranged wife into supporting another man’s child for 16 years.
Bekithemba Maphosa discovered the harsh reality that the son he raised into his teenage years was not his last week at the Bulawayo Maintenance Court where his estranged wife Sithokozile Maphosa was suing him for both child and spousal maintenance.
In her suit papers, filed under case Number M741/ 17 at the Bulawayo Maintenance Court, Sithokozile from Emganwini suburb was demanding $298 for both child and spousal support per month.
“I am applying for maintenance from the respondent who is employed in the United Kingdom. The respondent (Bekithemba) is the responsible person legally liable to maintain the under mentioned dependants (the child and wife) and I wish to claim a monthly child and spousal maintenance of $298,” reads part of her submissions.
In his opposing affidavit, Bekithemba however, disputed Sithokozile’s claim saying he was not the father of the child.
“The sum of $298 per month being the applicant’s claim for spousal maintenance and child maintenance is unjustified. The minor child, which the applicant claims I am liable to maintain, is not my son. I am therefore under no legal obligation to maintain the minor child and the applicant’s claim must be dismissed.
“The applicant is not entitled to spousal maintenance. The applicant and I have not been living together for 17 years and we are currently undergoing divorce proceedings. Considering that we are going through divorce proceedings, I will no longer owe applicant a duty to support her in as much as she will not owe the same duty.
“The applicant has a means to support herself, she sells chickens for a living and also makes clothes and sells them, therefore her claim for spousal maintenance under these circumstances should therefore be dismissed,” reads part of his affidavit.
Bekithemba further disputed the claim on the grounds that he filed divorce proceedings against Sithokozile after he discovered that the child was not his through the DNA tests he “secretly” conducted in the UK.
When asked by the presiding magistrate Tinashe Tashaya who initially dealt with the matter, if she was sure that the child was of her estranged husband, Sithokozile said:
“I know the child belongs to him. May the tests be re-done. The tests were done in January 2017 and they were done by a private doctor and that is why I am sure they are not authentic. I am sure that the child is his since we were staying together before he went to the UK”.
Bekithemba however, insisted that the child was not his, claiming Sithokozile blatantly lied to him.
“For 16 years the applicant blatantly lied to me that the minor child was mine. It follows that she has exhibited a history of being deceitful and as such is being deceitful in bringing this application.”
In a ruling delivered on 01 June the magistrate however, ordered Bekithemba to pay $100 as monthly maintenance for the child pending DNA tests to be conducted within six months of granting the order.
In addition he was also ordered to pay $100 as spousal maintenance for applicant until applicant remarries or a decree of divorce is granted and or becomes self-supporting whichever comes first.
Bekithemba, who was sincerely sure that Sithokizile had deceived him, last week was exonerated by the tests which were conducted by National Blood Services Zimbabwe in conjunction with Unistel Medical Laboratories, Cape Town, in South Africa which proved that he was not the father.
The results read:-“An incompatibility with paternity was found more than two markers. Paternity of individual (Mr Maphosa Bekithemba) is excluded with a high degree of uncertainty”.
Following the results Bulawayo senior magistrate Sharon Rosemani discharged maintenance for the child.
As of the spousal maintenance she said it was better for it to be decided at the High Court where the issue of their divorce was being dealt with.
Sithokozile, however, created drama after the court session when she quickly disappeared from the scene before the lawyer who was representing her estranged husband talked to her.