Cheryl Kahla
Deputy Online News Editor
3 minute read
15 Jan 2022
11:51 am

Parliament fire accused Zandile Mafe’s bail application postponed – Here’s why

Cheryl Kahla

Zandile Mafe's lawyer said the winds of justice 'are finally moving in the right direction'.

Alleged arsonist Zandile Christmas Mafe faces six charges including arson, theft, housebreaking, contravention of the National Key Points Act, and terrorism. Photo: Gallo Images/Daily Maverick/Leila Dougan

The 49-year-old alleged Parliament fire accused Zandile Mafe’s defence team called for an urgent bail application on Saturday at 11am at the Western Cape High Court.

As reported by The Citizen’s Getrude Makhafola on Friday, Mafe’s legal representative Dali Mpofu said a doctor’s diagnosis of his client should not be used to prevent his bail application.

Zandile Mafe’s bail application

‘False start’ causes delay

The bail application to challenge the Court’s referral for the accused to be sent to the Valkenberg psychiatric hospital for mental observation was postponed due to a ‘false start’.

The application could not take place as a minimum of two judges had to be present.

The referral will be challenged in court on Tuesday, 18 January, and the bail application will then be heard on Saturday, 22 January.

FRIDAY’S REPORT: Parliament fire accused Zandile Mafe to apply for bail

The ‘elephant in the kitchen’

Mafe’s lawyer Luvuyo Godla said the winds of justice “are finally moving in the right direction”.

“We are going to appear in court again on the 18th for the court to determine whether the referral made on the 11th is lawful or unlawful. That’s the elephant in the kitchen.”

He said the court “needs to deal with that because we have someone now under medical observation” while it’s not certain if the order was lawful.

A spokesperson for the Hawks confirmed their investigation will continue. Investigators will visit the crime scene once engineers confirmed it is safe to enter.

Journalists refused entry

Reporters were refused entry Mafe bail hearing. Journalists were told the courtroom where the matter will be heard was too small to allow everyone in.

Only Media24, the Cape Argus and the Cape Times were given access.

On Saturday, protesters gathered outside of the High Court in the Cape Town CBD in support of Mafe’s urgent bail application.

READ MORE: WATCH: Mafe a ‘scapegoat’ for state failures

Mental observation and hunger strike

Mafe’s lawyer confirmed on Saturday that the accused is still on a hunger strike.

The accused was ordered by the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court to undergo a 30-day mental observation at the Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital, starting Thursday, 13 January.

This followed after a report from district surgeon Dr Zelda van Tonder revealed Mafe has schizophrenia with paranoia (previously referred to as Paranoid schizophrenia).

As confirmed by NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila, State prosecutor Advocate Adenaan Gelderbloem advised Mafe’s legal representative of the latest developments.

Mafe, however, threatened to go on a hunger strike if he wasn’t released. In response, Prosecutor Hélène Booysen said the state would not be held at ransom by Mafe’s threats.

Parliament fire

Mafe was arrested earlier this year in connection with a blaze that gutted the Old Assembly Wing and the National Assembly of the buildings of Parliament.

The accused now faces sixth charges, including a charge of terrorism when the State on Tuesday argued he “unlawfully and intentionally delivered, placed, discharged or detonated an explosive device”.

Additional reporting by Getrude Makhafola.

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