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Parliament fire: Zandile Mafe to begin 30-day mental observation at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital

Zandile Christmas Mafe is accused of starting the fire at Parliament. CCTV footage spotted him in the building from about 2am, shortly before the blaze broke out on Sunday. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Zandile Christmas Mafe is accused of starting the fire at Parliament. CCTV footage spotted him in the building from about 2am, shortly before the blaze broke out on Sunday. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 13, 2022

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Durban - Zandile Christmas Mafe, the man accused of starting the fire at Parliament, is due to start his 30-day mental observation at the Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital.

The National Prosecuting Authority confirmed that a bed was secured for Mafe on Thursday.

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Mafe appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court where the presiding officer made the order for him to be admitted for observation, the NPA said.

"State prosecutor, advocate Adenaan Gelderbloem, advised Mafe's legal representative of the latest developments through an email yesterday afternoon and called this morning to confirm receipt of the email," said NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila.

He said on Tuesday the NPA successfully argued for the accused to be referred to the psychiatric hospital for mental observation following a diagnosis and recommendation by district surgeon Dr Zelda van Tonder that Mafe suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

Ntabazalila said the defence attempted to oppose the State application but failed and the accused threatened to go on hunger strike if his bail application was not heard.

Ntabazalila said Mafe protested that there was nothing wrong with him, while the State argued that it cannot be blackmailed or held at ransom by the accused.

Furthermore, the State argued that if bail was granted, Mafe could go on hunger strike until he died.

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The State argued that there was no guarantee that he would be granted bail, and should be referred for observation.

Magistrate Zamekile Mbalo agreed with the State and postponed the matter to February 11, 2022, for observation.

Earlier the NPA told the court that it had withdrawn the charge of destruction of essential infrastructure while adding a new charge of contravention of Section 5 of Act 33 of 2004, Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act.

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