Citizen Reporter
Reporter
3 minute read
4 Jan 2022
12:26 pm

Parliament fire: State to oppose suspect’s bail application as case is postponed

Citizen Reporter

The state has been allowed to gather bail information and to inspect the crime scene.

Zandile Christmas Mafe appears at the Cape Town Magistrate's Court in connection with the fire at Parliament in on 4 January 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

The case against the alleged suspect behind the Parliament fire in Cape Town has been postponed to 11 January.

Zandile Christmas Mafe made his first appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday morning, where his case was remanded for seven days for further investigations.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the state has been allowed to gather bail information and to inspect the crime scene.

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“The case has been postponed to the 11th of January for the state [and] investigators to confirm certain information… especially bail information which includes the residential address of the accused, whether the accused has assets and so forth,” NPA Western Cape spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila told the media outside the court.

“Investigators have not been able to go to Parliament… to the crime scene to assess how much the damage is because the crime scene was still active,” he said.

Ntabazalila also confirmed the state intends to oppose Mafe’s bail application. The suspect will remain in custody.

Five charges has been brought against Mafe.

They include two counts of arson, theft, house breaking with intent to steal, destruction of essential infrastructure, and possession of explosive devices.

The 49-year-old man, who is from Khayelitsha, was arrested in connection with the fire on Sunday afternoon. The matter was then referred to the Hawks for investigations.

The suspect was caught with alleged stolen property after apparently gaining entry to the parliamentary precinct.

He was spotted by members of the Protection and Security Services (PSS) when they noticed the building was on fire.

According to Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille, Mafe was caught on camera as early as 2am on Sunday.

Fire contained

On Tuesday, Parliament confirmed that firefighters have contained the fire.

Another fire broke out on the roof of the National Assembly on Monday, which has left parts of the New Assembly building “completely gutted”.

City of Cape Town Chief Fire Officer, Ian Schnetler, also indicated that inspections on hotspots inside the National Assembly were being conducted.

“At present it’s very quiet. The Divisional Commander is still doing a preliminary inspection currently on the 4th and 5th floor, to see whether there are any further hotspots. We have [also] been assisted by EMS with their drones,” he said.

READ MORE: Be grateful one city works, says Ramaphosa in Parliament fire address

Schnetler further said the authorities will take over the scene should there be no more fires by the end of the day.

The fire, which started on Sunday, has affected both the Old Assembly wing and the National Assembly wing of Parliament, which also houses the upper house, the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

Government officials on Monday confirmed the NCOP’s chamber offices, the library, and a museum were all spared.

The fire initially started at the hall of the Old Assembly building, then spread to the National Assembly.