Pre-trial of parliament alleged arsonist Zandile Mafe to resume

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Pre-trial proceedings in the case of Zandile Mafe, the man accused of setting the National Assembly on fire in January last year, are expected to resume in the High Court in Cape Town on Friday.

This follows an independent psychiatric assessment that Mafe’s lawyers had requested, after a state-appointed panel of experts found him unfit to stand trial.

The report found that Mafe was not fit to stand trial due to a mental illness, but the independent assessment is expected to provide more clarity on his condition.

At a previous court appearance, Mafe made a number of utterances from the dock, among others that he burnt parliament and would do it again if it was not moved from Cape Town.

Psychiatric report finds Mafe unable to follow court proceedings

Western Cape High Court Judge Nathan Erasmus lifted the ban on the state-appointed report findings, but did not disclose Mafe’s medical condition.

The damages to the new and old assembly buildings is estimated at R2 billion.

The prosecution is expected to argue that Mafe is fit to stand trial, while the defense is likely to argue that he is not. The judge will then have to decide whether Mafe is fit to stand trial.

The case is expected to continue for several months.

Parliament Fire | Alleged arsonist Zandile Mafe admits to burning down Parliament

Here are some additional details about the case:

  • Mafe is charged with arson, terrorism, and theft.
  • He was arrested on January 2, 2022, after he was found in the National Assembly building with a backpack full of flammable materials.
  • The fire caused extensive damage to the National Assembly building and the Old Assembly building.
  • The prosecution is expected to call a number of witnesses, including firefighters, police officers, and forensic experts.
  • The defense is expected to call a psychiatrist to testify about Mafe’s mental condition.