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Accused Parliament arsonist Mafe’s psych report under wraps for now

Accused Parliament arsonist Zandile Christmas Mafe appears in the Western Cape High Court. Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Accused Parliament arsonist Zandile Christmas Mafe appears in the Western Cape High Court. Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 9, 2023


Cape Town - The details of a psychiatric evaluation to confirm whether accused Parliament arsonist Zandile Christmas Mafe was fit to stand trial will not yet be shared.

The Western Cape High Court on Thursday heard that the report had been received, but the matter was postponed to next month for the defence team to consult.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said Mafe had been remanded in the hospital section of Pollsmoor following his mental evaluation.

“Terrorism and arson accused Mafe has been remanded in the hospital section of Pollsmoor Prison, following his first appearance at the High Court of South Africa: Western Cape Division, after undergoing mental evaluation at Fort England Psychiatric Hospital, Eastern Cape.

“On March 28, 2023, the court transferred and ordered that Mafe be detained at the (Eastern Cape) hospital to undergo a 30-day mental evaluation.

“Judge Nathan Erasmus ordered psychiatrists at the hospital to enquire whether the accused, because of mental illness and/or intellectual disability is capable of understanding the court proceedings, to make a proper defence, whether, at the time of the commission of the offence, he appreciated the wrongfulness of the act in question and whether his appreciation of the wrongfulness of his act at the time was affected by mental illness or intellectual disability, or any other cause.

“Today, Judge Erasmus informed the court that he received an electronic report from the panel of experts on May 24 and shared it with the parties. He ordered, after the state and defence agreed, that the contents of the report not be disclosed at this stage, as the defence needs to consult with their client,” said Ntabazalila.

Mafe’s legal representative, Advocate Dali Mpofu SC, told the court that they needed time to consult, and he might even call their experts if they disputed the report.

The matter was postponed to July 13 for the defence to consult.

State advocate Mervyn Menigo told the court that the State did not dispute the report and supported the request for a postponement as it was in the interests of justice.

Mafe has been 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 January 2, 2022.

“On three occasions, Mafe has refused to attend court, either demanding to be provided with a kettle and flat-screen TV, or claiming that he is on a hunger strike, or bluntly refusing to leave his prison cell,” said Ntabazalila.

Cape Times