Getrude Makhafola
2 minute read
11 Jan 2022
12:04 pm

Parliament fire accused faces terrorism charge

Getrude Makhafola

A sixth charge of terrorism has been added against Parliament arson accused Zandile Mafe.

Zandile Christmas Mafe, a suspect in connection to a fire at Parliament, appears in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court in Cape Town on 4 January 2022. Picture: Xabiso Mkhabela/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A charge of terrorism has been added against Zandile Mafe, the man accused of setting Parliament on fire.

Mafe was back in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, represented by senior counsel Dali Mpofu.

The Contravening of Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act charge has brought the number of his charges to six.

The State said he “unlawfully and intentionally delivered, placed, discharged or detonated an explosive device” onto the Parliament building, with the intention of causing destruction that was likely to result in economic loss.

It also emerged that Mafe was diagnosed with schizophrenia, a mental condition. The State lodged an application to have the alleged arsonist in psychiatric observation for 30 days.

Mpofu insisted that the bail application continue. He then asked the court for time to consult, saying he received at least three new documents on Tuesday from the State.

ALSO READ: Alleged parly arsonist Zandile Mafe ‘has mental issues’

“We were furnished with three documents less than an hour ago.

“The document from a Dr Van Tonder, a district surgeon, dated 3 January, says the accused was taken for mental observation last Monday and there was a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.

“We need to canvass all these documents with the accused. The defense is here to continue with bail application.”

He told the court that he would oppose the 30-day mental observation application brought by the State.

The court granted Mpofu a break to consult with his client.

ALSO READ: Parliament fire suspect’s attorney accuses government of making him scapegoat

Mafe appeared in court clean shaven, wearing a shirt and suit jacket. He turned to face cameras as soon as he stepped into the dock.

Outside court, a group of supporters, which included homeless people, carried placards demanding his release. They told reporters that authorities always target the poor and the homeless.

“We know that this always happens in this city. We stay as the victims of police action, they must find the real culprits and release Zandile,” said one protester.

Police maintained presence inside and outside the court.