• Live
    • Audio Only
  • google plus
  • facebook
  • twitter
News > South Africa

South African Parliament Fire Suspect Faces Charge of Terrorism

  • Zandile Mafe in Cape Town, South Africa, Jan. 10, 2022.

    Zandile Mafe in Cape Town, South Africa, Jan. 10, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/ @NewsjunkyI

Published 11 January 2022

Outside the court people were protesting against the arrest of Zandile Mafe, who is said to be homeless, alleging the move is a cover-up.

On Tuesday, South African prosecution added a charge of "terrorism act" to Zandile Christmas Mafe, a Cape Town man who is suspected of setting fire to Parliament. Previously, he had been charged with housebreaking with intent to steal and theft, two counts of arson, possession of an explosive device and destruction of an essential infrastructure


South Africa's Parliament Fire Flares Up Again

In his second appearing at Cape Town Magistrates' Court after a 7-day postponement required by the prosecution, it was heard that the prosecution added a count in terms of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act, and that the accused was diagnosed of paranoid Schizophrenia after being sent for mental observation by the State last Monday.

The accused "did unlawfully and intentionally deliver, place, discharge or detonate an explosive or other lethal devices in, into or against a place of public use, a state or government facility, or an infrastructure facility, at or near Parliament, upon or about Jan. 2," read the charge sheet.

The matter has been postponed until Feb. 11, for Mafe to go for 30-day mental observation at a hospital as applied by the prosecution. However, the defence plans to bring the bail application before that, while the date has not been set, as the prosecution office is closed for decontamination, said Eric Ntabazalila, regional spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa (NPA).

The prosecution decided to add the charge of "terrorism act with using explosives to destroy the parliament" after viewing a footage showing Mafe's presence in the parliament.

The reason for the mental observation is that it will determine whether Mafe is able to keep instruction or understand the proceeding of the court after the bail application starts. Outside the court, however, people were protesting against the arrest of Mafe, who is said to be homeless, alleging the move is a cover-up. Mafe was allegedly caught with suspected stealing property after he gained entry to the parliamentary precinct without authorization.

The fire, which lasted more than 70 hours from Jan. 2, severely damaged the building of the National Assembly (NA), the lower house, and completely burned down the NA chamber. It also caused extensive damage to the century-old Old Assembly building that houses the National Council of Provinces, the upper house.

The Parliament received a fire and safety report of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services last Thursday, which contains preliminary observations of the firefighters during the course of their work, but said it "does not in any way" purport to provide conclusive findings and evidence regarding the cause and the circumstances surrounding the fire.


Zandile Mafe
Post with no comments.