Psychiatrist’s report on alleged Parliament arsonist is inadequate, says Mpofu

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Published Nov 3, 2023

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Cape Town - Psychiatrists have stated that alleged Parliament arsonist Zandile Christmas Mafe suffers from schizophrenia and is unable to understand what he did when he set the National Assembly ablaze.

This was revealed in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday at a special inquiry called amid dramatic court appearances by the Khayelitsha man who was bust after the conflagration.

Mafe’s lawyer, advocate Dali Mpofu, disputed a State psychiatrist’s report and labelled it “inadequate”.

Mafe was charged with housebreaking with intent to commit arson, arson, terrorism and theft after he was arrested for destroying the Old and New Assembly building of Parliament between January 1 and 2, 2022.

After months of courtroom antics, such as refusing to appear in court, and demanding a kettle and radio while being held at Pollsmoor Prison, he was sent for a 30-day mental evaluation at the Fort England Psychiatric Hospital in Makhanda.

Psychiatrists have stated that alleged Parliament arsonist Zandile Christmas Mafe suffers from schizophrenia and is unable to understand what he did when he set the National Assembly alight,

On Thursday, State psychiatrist Dr TN Seshoko, told the court that the evaluation took longer than expected as Mafe often refused to co-operate, once arriving at a session clothed in nothing but a towel.

He said Mafe said he set Parliament alight because he believed that President Cyril Ramaphosa was “working with white people to kill black people”.

Seshoko said Mafe was delusional and preoccupied with thoughts of Ramaphosa and had displayed various symptoms of a schizophrenic. He was unable to assume responsibility for his actions as he had a mental illness at the time of the crime.

“The recommendation from the panel is that the accused be admitted to Valkenberg Hospital as a State patient for rehabilitation.”

The inquiry will continue today.

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