Parliament arson accused Zandile Mafe allegedly spent at least 30 hours inside the Parliament building, made telephone calls and started the disastrous fire by burning boxes, a report has revealed.
His activities and movements inside the National Key Point were caught on cameras as on-duty police officers slept, while others had earphones on.
Mafe, 49, who is also facing a charge of terrorism, is expected to apply for bail on Saturday.
He was diagonised with paranoid schizophrenia and sent to Valkenberg psychiatric hospital after his second appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court. Last week, the Western Cape High Court set aside the lower court’s decision committing Mafe to a 30-day mental observation and ordered that he be released from hospital.
According to a News24 report, Mafe spent the entire New Year’s Day inside the National Key Point having entered after midnight. He avoided detection by crawling, and covered his head with a jacket.
Mafe then reportedly set a pile of boxes on fire 26 hours later.
He was also said to have called the police from inside the National Key Point, indicating that he was planning on starting a fire unless Janusz Walus, who was jailed for killing anti-apartheid hero Chris Hani, was freed from prison.
The officers who were on duty are reportedly facing disciplinary action.
The 2 January fire burned for two days as teams of firefighters battled to control the blaze. Parliament’s Old and New Assembly buildings were gutted.
Last week, Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille appeared before Parliament’s Joint Committee on Financial Management to give an update on the fire incident.
The BDO audit report was handed to her department in 2020. It was released for the first time during the committee sitting, showing glaring inefficiencies and non-compliance on fire safety.
The report recommended an overhaul of Parliament’s fire safety measures and the appointment of a fire consultant, which were never implemented.
The Joint Committee was due to attend a sitting on Friday morning, which was abruptly postponed to a date not yet communicated.
Compiled by Getrude Makhafola.