'i am not a thief'

THE use of technology is taking crime investigations to new heights.

This after a calf had to undergo a DNA test at a cost of R8000 to establish who its rightful owner was.

At the centre of the dispute was ZCC Priest Charles Ndala of Lefiso village in KwaMhlanga, who was accused of stealing a calf. And now the priest has been absolved of the crime after DNA tests proved the calf belonged to him.

This after police took samples of the alleged stolen calf for tests in which it was proven that it was part of the generation of his cows.

Ndala's dilemma started last December when he sold his calf to Fantsopo Kekana in the neighbouring village of Malebitsa.

"That was when John Tsela and community members approached Kekana to find out where he got the calf because it was Tsela's - and had been missing for years," Ndala said.

"Despite showing them brand marks on its body to prove it belonged to me, Tsela insisted it was his. After a long argument the police asked the two men if they still had the calf's "mother cows".

The police decided to take samples from Tsela's "mother cow" and Ndala's "mother cow" and the calf.

Yesterday Ndala received a call from the police informing him that the calf, which had been in police custody, would be returned to him because the DNA tests showed it belonged to him.

Commander Herman Lubbe of the Modimolle stock theft unit said the DNA test cost R8000 - four times the value of the calf.

Tsela could not be reached.