A group of supporters of the alleged Parliament arsonist, Zandile Christmas Mafe, have staged a protest outside the High Court in Cape Town. The group maintains that Mafe is innocent of the charges against him.

He faces five charges including terrorism, in connection with the fire that gutted Parliament on January 2. Mafe’s legal team including Advocate Dali Mpofu has arrived at the court ahead of a special bail application.

Mafe’s lawyer Dali Mpofu arrived at the court accompanied by his legal team amid a heavy media presence. Police have cordoned off the area in front of the court in anticipation of a protest by the accused supporters.

Mafe has been referred to the Valkenberg Mental Institution for observation over the next thirty days. He’s currently spending his third day at the mental health facility.

Zandile Christmas Mafe | Urgent bail hearing of alleged Parliament arsonist:

AZAPO members call for the immediate release of Mafe

Members of the Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO) who are demonstrating outside the High Court in Cape Town in support of Mafe have called for his immediate release.

Azapo spokesperson Gaontebale Nodoba addressed the media outside the court. He says Mafe is being used as a scapegoat to cover up the failings of government.

“You have seen citizens of South Africa, that they are clutching at straws. All of a sudden in a democratic South Africa the first person to be charged with terrorism-related acts is a black poor homeless person. What a shame to this so-called quasi democracy. How can it be that coming from Apartheid from 1994 we get into a so-called democracy and the first person to be charged with terrorism-related acts is a black poor person.”

Additional reporting by Corbin August and Lynne Arendse.