Alleged Parliament arsonist Zandile Christmas Mafe is on Tuesday expected to appear before the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court for his bail hearing.
The state is set to oppose Mafe’s bail application, after it was given a week by the court to access the crime scene.
The 49-year-old was arrested last week in connection with the blaze that gutted the Old Assembly Wing and the National Assembly of the buildings of Parliament.
He is charged with housebreaking with intent to steal and theft, two counts of arson, possession of an explosive device and destruction of essential infrastructure. More charges were likely to be added as the investigation into the fire continued.
Mafe’s lawyer, Luvuyo Godla, has denied the charges against his client, and claimed the state was using him as a scapegoat for the fire that engulfed the parliament building.
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During Mafe’s first court appearance last Tuesday, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) requested the court to postpone the case for seven days for bail information.
This was in order to confirm Mafe’s residential address, whether he has any assets, any pending cases, any pending warrants of arrests against him and any previous convictions.
The NPA also requested the postponement in order to determine the schedule under which Mafe’s would be charged as it intends to charge him under Schedule 5, while the defence insisted he should be charged under Schedule 1.
Mafe’s lawyer threatens NPA with legal action
On Monday, Godla threatened to lodge an urgent court action against the NPA if it did not provide him with a copy of his client’s charge sheet.
Godla wrote a letter to the NPA on Friday, saying his client’s constitutional rights to being provided with reasons for his detention were being violated by the absence of the copy of a charge sheet.
“A charge sheet copy enables an attorney to properly represent his client in court. We all know of the charges brought against my client last week, but we need the in-depth copy of the charge sheet.
“The NPA undertook to give us the charge sheet on 4 January and I reminded [Eric] Ntabazalila [NPA Western Cape spokesperson] in the court corridors, but nothing has been forthcoming,” he told The Citizen.
However, the NPA’s Western Cape spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila dismissed Godla’s complaint.
He said the clerk of the court had the docket that contains everything pertaining to the case, including the charge sheet.
“I do not know what is this performance from Godla. This is very strange. He asked for the copy from me after court, and I directed him to the clerk of the court.
“It is there, a public document that he can access anytime at the court… We [NPA] have no obligation to provide him with the document,” Ntabazalila said.