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Parliament fire suspect Zandile Mafe's bail hearing postponed after he contracts Covid-19

21 January 2022 - 12:06
Zandile Mafe is accused of torching parliament on January 2 2022.
Zandile Mafe is accused of torching parliament on January 2 2022.
Image: Esa Alexander

The man accused of torching parliament on January 2 will have to wait another week for his much-anticipated bail hearing.

Zandile Mafe, 49, was due to appear in the Cape Town high court on Saturday. However, he is isolating after being diagnosed with Covid-19 during his mental evaluation at Valkenberg Hospital last week.

Acting regional court president Michelle Adams postponed the matter.

“The court was informed that due to the accused contracting the Covid-19 virus, he is in isolation and will not be able to attend proceedings tomorrow.

“The court was requested to postpone the matter to January 29, which was acceded to,” said Adams in an e-mail to journalists.

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This comes after the alleged parliament arsonist scored a legal victory against the state on Tuesday when the high court in Cape Town overturned Mafe's referral to Valkenberg.

Mafe’s counsel, Dali Mpofu, accused the state of using his client as a scapegoat.

“This rushed referral, what is behind it?” asked Mpofu. “The state wants to make him a modern [Dimitri] Tsafendas.” This was a reference to the parliamentary messager who stabbed prime minister Hendrik Verwoerd to death in parliament in 1966.

NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said Mafe's defence team had been provided with a new charge sheet in which the 49-year-old from Khayelitsha is accused of housebreaking with intent to commit terrorism and arson, arson, terrorism and theft.

"The changes came after advocate Mervyn Menigo, who is the leading prosecutor in the matter, studied the docket afresh, further consulted with the investigating officer and felt that the charges needed to be reformulated," he said.

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