Suspected parliament arsonist Zandile Mafe back in the dock

The case against Zandile Mafe, the suspected parliament arsonist, is set to resume at the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

The court will delve into the details of a psychiatric report that was released in May after Mafe was sent for evaluation.

Mafe, who is currently detained in the hospital section of the Pollsmoor correctional facility, had initially refused to go to a Cape Town hospital and was subsequently sent for a 30-day psychiatric observation at the Fort England Psychiatrics’ Hospital in the Eastern Cape.

This is not the first time Mafe has undergone a mental evaluation.

Following a recommendation by a district surgeon during his first appearance at the Cape Town magistrate’s court, he was briefly admitted to the Valkenburg Psychiatric Hospital.

However, that order was successfully reviewed in the high court on a technicality, leading to Mafe’s return to Pollsmoor Prison.

Since then, he has exhibited erratic behaviour, resulting in several instances where he refused to attend court proceedings. 

Eric Ntabazalila, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, said in March: “There have been three occasions where he has refused to attend court, either demanding to be provided with a kettle and flat-screen television set or claiming that he is on hunger strike or bluntly refusing to leave his prison cell.”

The 51-year-old man faces charges of arson and terrorism for allegedly setting fire to the National Assembly chamber in January 2022.


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Nompilo Zulu

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