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Mafe’s lawyer disputes state’s ‘inadequate’ psychiatric report

Accused arsonist Zandile Mafe appearing at the Western Cape High Court on Thursday, where two psychiatric evaluation reports came under scrutiny. Picture: Chevon Booysen

Accused arsonist Zandile Mafe appearing at the Western Cape High Court on Thursday, where two psychiatric evaluation reports came under scrutiny. Picture: Chevon Booysen

Published Nov 3, 2023


Accused Parliament arsonist and alleged terrorist Zandile Mafe believed that the panel of medical professionals assigned to conduct his psychiatric evaluation were colluding against him and were planning to have him killed.

These are of the details which emerged about the psychiatric evaluation Mafe had undergone at the Fort England Hospital in Grahamstown, in which two reports confirmed that Mafe was schizophrenic and experiences episodes of psychosis.

Mafe’s defence, advocate Dali Mpofu, cast a shadow on the scant detail in state-appointed psychiatrist Dr Thupana Seshoka’s one-page report, compared to the seven-page report by the defence’s independently appointed psychiatrist.

Seshoka, along with two other psychiatrists who formed part of the panel, recommended that Mafe be admitted as a state patient at Valkenberg Hospital after it was found that he would be unfit to follow court proceedings.

The panel had also observed that Mafe was “preoccupied with delusions” that made a few of his assessment sessions challenging.

They added that the sessions were “not easy” as he believed that the government was “colluding against him and wanted to have him killed” and, on occasion, Mafe refused to pitch for the sessions while he was being held for observation from March 29 to May 24.

Mpofu, during cross-examination of Seshoka, said he had criticisms of the report compiled by the panel of psychiatrists, the compilation of the report and the details divulged to the court which were not contained in the report.

Mpofu questioned Seshoka about the criteria used by the clinicians, who had used the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM5), which guided them in their assessments to arrive at their diagnosis for schizophrenia.

“He had delusions that cannot be changed. He had persecutory delusions which he believed the government and government officials and even warned the panel that we were under threat as (according to Mafe), they were colluding to kill us as well,” said Seshoka.

According to Mpofu, the psychiatrist for the defence, Dr Naseema Cassimjee – who arrived at the same diagnosis – had submitted a more detailed report. Mpofu described Seshoka’s report as “inadequate, unhelpful” and called for it to be referred back for a “proper” one to be done.

State advocate Mervyn Menigo submitted that the report which Seshoka and the panel submitted was compliant.

Furthermore, at the beginning of court proceedings, Mafe had, in the absence of his counsel and the State, made a slew of utterances in court before he was removed by a court orderly.

This was just before proceedings were officially to be heard by Judge Nathan Erasmus.

Counsel requested that the court make a decision on media publishing in terms of what Mafe had said. Erasmus said an order would not be issued as the media had rights.

He did, however, request that the court processes be respected and asked the media to refrain from publishing the utterances Mafe made which had similar connotations to his previous outburst.

Cape Times