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Court finds decision to send Zandile Mafe for psychiatric evaluation unlawful

49-year-old Zandile Christmas Mafe is accused of starting a fire at the Parliamentary precinct on 2 January 2022.

49-year-old Zandile Christmas Mafe is accused of starting a fire at the Parliamentary precinct on 2 January 2022.

Published Jan 18, 2022

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Durban - The decision to send alleged Parliament arson accused, Zandile Mafe, was unlawful and unconstitutional.

On Tuesday, the Western Cape High Court set aside an order requesting Mafe to be sent to the Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital for mental observation for 30 days. The court stated that Mafe must be released from the facility.

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Judge President John Hlophe said further detention of Mafe is unlawful and should come to an end with immediate effect. Judge President John Hlophe said further detention of Mafe is unlawful and should come to an end with immediate effect.

The court has further ruled that Mafe be moved to a holding cell pending his upcoming bail application.

Last week, Mafe's legal team challenged their client's referral. An urgent application for bail was filed and partly heard on Saturday.

In an affidavit submitted by his legal representative, advocate Dali Mpofu, Mafe said: “The mere fact that I have been deliberately referred to mental observation without ever having been given the opportunity to consult my own psychiatrist is questionable.”

“If I am kept further in such cruel custody, I may as well become disturbed and the State will have achieved a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Mafe said.

Mafe’s bail application is expected to be dealt with on Saturday.

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Mafe has been charged with Contravention of Section 5 of Act 33 of 2004, Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act, two counts of arson, two counts of housebreaking with intent to steal, theft and discharging explosives.

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