Accused Zandile Mafe being used as a scapegoat in Parly fire, says lawyer

Zandile Mafe's attorney, Luvuyo Godla, has stressed his client's innocence and feels Mafe should have been released on bail on Tuesday.

Luvuyo Godla (C) represents Zandile Mafe, the man accused of being behind the fire that has ravaged Parliament. Picture: Kevin Brant/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - The defence counsel for man accused of setting Parliament in fire said his client was being made a scapegoat.

Zandile Christmas Mafe, aged 49, from Khayelitsha made his first appearance before the Cape Town Magistrates Court earlier on Tuesday facing five charges relating to the incident.

The blaze started at Parliament during the early hours of Sunday morning.

Mafe's attorney, Luvuyo Godla, has stressed his client's innocence and feels Mafe should have been released on bail on Tuesday.

Instead, the State was granted a seven-day postponement to verify bail information and to inspect the crime scene, with Mafe remaining behind bars.

Godla said they accepted the court's decision: "But our submission is this, surely this poor man is made a scapegoat for failures of executives and legislatures. The is no point to come and say we are not ready."

Mafe faces charges of housebreaking, theft and arson, possession of an explosive device as well as the destruction of essential infrastructure.

The NPA said more charges were likely to be added and it was set to oppose bail when the case returned to court next Tuesday.