Citizen Reporter
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2 minute read
13 Jan 2022
2:54 pm

Alleged Parliament arsonist Zandile Mafe starts mental observation

Citizen Reporter

Mafe will undergo his 30-day mental observation at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital in Cape Town.

Picture File: Zandile Christmas Mafe (49) appears at the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on 11 January 2022 in connection with the fire at Parliament. Picture: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

Alleged Parliament arsonist Zandile Christmas Mafe on Thursday started his 30-day mental observation at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital after a bed was secured for him.

Mafe, 49, appeared at the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Thursday morning, where the presiding officer made the order for him to be admitted for observation.

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This followed his second appearance in court on Tuesday after he was arrested last week in connection with the blaze that gutted the buildings of Parliament.

Mafe was represented by his attorney Luvuyo Godla and Advocate Dali Mpofu, who joined his legal team.

Diagnosis disclosed

During his court appearance, the state successfully argued for the accused to be referred to the psychiatric hospital for mental observation after a diagnosis and recommendation by district surgeon, Dr Zelda van Tonder, that Mafe suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. 

The defence attempted to oppose the state application but failed, and the accused threatened to go on a hunger strike if his bail application was not heard.

Mafe protested that there was nothing wrong with him, but the state argued that it could not be blackmailed or held at ransom by his threats. The state also argued that there was no guarantee that he would be granted bail, and should be referred for observation.

Magistrate Zamekile Mbalo agreed with the state and postponed the matter to 11 February for observation.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) also informed the court that an additional charge of terrorism was added to Mafe’s charge sheet, bringing his charges to six, which included two counts of arson and possession of an explosive device.

The NPA’s Western Cape spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila, on Thursday said state prosecutor, Advocate Adenaan Gelderbloem, had advised Mafe’s legal team of the latest developments through an email on Wednesday afternoon and called to confirm receipt of the email.

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe

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