Parliament arson: Hearing postponed as pyjama clad Zandile Mafe refuses to appear in court

Mafe reportedly lay on the floor in the court holding cell and refused to make his appearance.

The pre-trial hearing for alleged Parliament arsonist, Zandile Christmas Mafe, has been postponed to 2 September after he refused to appear in court.

Mafe was scheduled to make his first appearance at the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

The court, however, heard that Mafe was lying on the floor in the holding cell still in his pyjamas and refused to make his appearance.

The 49-year-old is accused of being responsible for the fire that destroyed parts of both the Old Assembly wing and the National Assembly wing of Parliament in Cape Town earlier this year.

Mafe faces charges of housebreaking, terrorism, arson, and theft.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Western Cape spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila, said he was surprised when Mafe did not appear in court.

Hunger strike

“The court orderly came up and informed the court that they were facing a situation downstairs as the accused was lying on the floor and they could not even pick him up. He refused to come up,” said Ntabazalila.

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Ntabazalila said the presiding officer told Mafe’s lawyer, Luvuyo Godla to go talk to his client.

Godla came back and told the judge that his client was on a hunger strike.

“He advised me that he is not well physically, he has been on a hunger strike for a considerable period of time. Unfortunately I did not get any information from Pollsmoor, they usually advise me as and when Mr Mafe embarks on a hunger strike.

“But this time they did not inform me until I was advised by Mr Mafe and to make it even worse he came out of prison knowing that he is not prepared to come to the courtroom as he is still in his pyjamas,” said Godla.

Ntabazalila said they have already handed over 95% of the evidence against Mafe to the court.

“During this period, we will hand over further particulars that are still outstanding, that will be your video footage, they need to give us a hard drive so that we can download and give it to them. As well as video analysis, which we will get during the course of the week,” added Ntabazalila.

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