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Parliament fire: You have the wrong man, says Zandile Mafe’s lawyer

Published Jan 4, 2022


Video by Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Zandile Mafe’s legal representative, Luvuyo Godla, says his client is not the person who was supposed to be apprehended in connection with the Parliament building fire.

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The 49-year-old man briefly appeared at the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday morning.

Godla is of the view that the wrong person was arrested in this matter.

“This is not the person who was supposed to be apprehended.

“This one is a scapegoat.

“What interest would that poor man have in burning (the) Parliament (building)?

“How would that person get access to (the) Parliament (building) and how would he know where to go in (the) Parliament (building) and burn?

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“It’s clearly a scapegoat.

“This is the failure of the executive and legislature, not that poor person.

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“Surely where you are you don’t know how to enter (the) Parliament (building) and what are the key points to burn,” Golda told reporters outside the court.

He said there were no issues with Mafe’s mental state.

“He was not in possession of anything, in fact, he denies vehemently those charges. He rejects those charges.

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“Why would private security and the police not be present at the place where they are supposed to be?

“We don’t even know how long it took for them to arrive.

“It can’t be that if you come across someone wandering around a certain proximity to the crime scene and therefore assume that he is the person.

“My client denies and rejects these charges and therefore he will plead not guilty,” he said.

Godla said the matter is pro bono as Mafe is unemployed.

He is originally from Mahikeng.

Magistrate Zamekile Mbalo postponed the hearing to allow for further investigations.

National Prosecution Authority in the Western Cape spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said state investigators need to confirm certain information, such as the suspect’s residential address and whether he has assets.

“Investigators have not been able to go to Parliament to assess the damages.

“By next Tuesday we will have that information,” Ntabazalila said.

He mentioned that the accused would apply for bail, but Ntabazalila said the State would oppose bail.

The suspect, who was apprehended by the Hawks, faces two counts of arson, theft, housebreaking and contravention of the National Key Points Acts.

Since Sunday flames have been ravaging the Parliamentary precinct, destroying the National Assembly and parts of the Old Assembly building.

Video: African News Agency (ANA)

On Monday afternoon strong south-easterly winds in the city fuelled the fire again.

It was brought under control around midnight.

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Political Bureau