Parliament fire accused Zandile Mafe made his secnd appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court. Picture: Armand Hough African News Agency (ANA)
Parliament fire accused Zandile Mafe made his secnd appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court. Picture: Armand Hough African News Agency (ANA)

Parliament arsonist accused Zandile Mafe to spend 30 days at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital for observation

By Tarryn-Leigh Solomons Time of article published Jan 11, 2022

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Cape Town - Parliament fire accused Zandile Mafe will undergo a mental evaluation for the next 30 days, as ordered by Magistrate Zamekile Mbalo.

On Tuesday, during his second appearance at the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court, Mafe heard that he faces an additional terrorism charge in connection with the blaze which gutted the National Assembly and parts of the Old Assembly buildings.

The 49-year-old – who was represented by advocate Dali Mpofu – also faces charges of housebreaking with intent to steal and theft, two counts of arson and possession of an explosive device.

After the State sent Mafe for psychiatric evaluation, it was found that he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.

The State made an application for Mafe to undergo a 30-day observation period at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital to determine whether he is fit to stand trial.

“The court is making that order that the accused be admitted to a mental institution for the purpose of observation,” Mbalo said.

Video: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Speaking to journalists outside court, National Prosecuting Authority in the Western Cape spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the State was “not interested in ambushing anyone”.

“Our focus is, and will always be, on providing and ensuring that charges are brought against the accused in a manner that is fair to the accused himself, and to us.

“We did not intend to ambush the accused with that letter. The fact of the matter is that the accused was sent for observation and the observation came back saying the accused is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia,” Ntabazalila said.

Luvuyo Godla, who forms part of the defence team, said the application to refer Mafe to Valkenberg came as a shock.

“It was a surprise to ourselves. We were very shocked. We have noted that he was referred on the 3rd of this month … At that stage he was not legally represented.”

In proceedings earlier in the day, Mpofu stated that the defence were left surprised on Tuesday morning.

Last week, during his first court appearance, Godla, said his client was not the person who was supposed to be apprehended. Furthermore, he added that Mafe denies and rejects the charges and therefore he will plead not guilty.

The Hawks are investigating the circumstances around the two-day fire, which started last week.

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Political Bureau

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