Citizen Reporter
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2 minute read
15 Jan 2022
6:25 pm

Parliament fire: Hawks confirm they’re looking into more suspects

Citizen Reporter

Alleged Parliament arsonist Zandile Christmas Mafe's bail hearing was postponed to next Saturday, 22 January.

Zandile Christmas Mafe during an earlier appearance at the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on 11 January 2022 in connection with the fire at Parliament. Picture: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

The Hawks have confirmed that they are looking into more suspects in connection with the fire that gutted the buildings of Parliament on 2 January.

“We are still looking to check if there were other people who were involved,” said Hawks spokesperson Thandi Mbambo, adding that they could not divulge any information at this stage as investigations continued.

She said investigators would visit the crime scene once engineers confirmed it is safe to enter the parliamentary precinct.

Mbambo was speaking to the media on Saturday outside the Western Cape High Court, where alleged Parliament arsonist Zandile Christmas Mafe’s legal team appeared in court for his urgent bail application.

Bail hearing postponed

Mafe’s bail hearing was postponed to next Saturday, 22 January, by Western Cape High Court Judge President John Hlophe, who presided over the proceedings.

Mafe, 49, faces sixth charges, including a charge of terrorism when the state on Tuesday argued before the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court that he, “unlawfully and intentionally delivered, placed, discharged or detonated an explosive device”.

Mafe’s legal team is challenging the order made by the magistrate’s court confining him to Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital for a 30-day mental observation.

Hlophe told the defence and state that a review of a decision taken by a magistrate or another judge could not be presided by a single judge. He was the only judge on duty this weekend and he organised for another judge to hear the review next Tuesday afternoon.

ALSO READ: Zandile Mafe’s bail application postponed – Here’s why

Eric Ntabazalila, the spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the Western Cape, said after hearing the parties’ arguments on Tuesday, the judges were likely to make an order by the end of the day which would pave the way for the bail application to be heard next Saturday.

The Cape Town Magistrate’s Court had ordered that Mafe be admitted for mental observation after a report from district surgeon Dr Zelda van Tonder revealed Mafe has schizophrenia with paranoia (previously referred to as Paranoid schizophrenia).

The defence opposed this with the accused telling his team that there was nothing wrong with him.

As part of his protest against the referral and request for his bail to be heard, Mafe threatened that he is going to go on hunger strike as he was entitled to bail.

‘Winds of justice’

His lawyer Luvuyo Godla said on Saturday 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,” Godla said.

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

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe. Additional reporting by Cheryl Kahla.

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