Parliament fire: Alleged arsonist Mafe threatens hunger strike if not released

Zandile Mafe was incarcerated a day after the blaze broke out and gutted the National Assembly Chamber and parts of the Old Assembly.

FILE: Zandile Mafe, the man accused of setting fire to Parliament, appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates Court on 11 January 2022. Picture: Kevin Brandt/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - Suspected Parliament arsonist, Zandile Mafe, has threatened to go on a hunger strike if he’s not released on bail.

Mafe was incarcerated a day after the blaze broke out and gutted the National Assembly Chamber and parts of the Old Assembly.

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A district surgeon advised the court to refer Mafe to Valkenburg Psychiatric Hospital. The medical report stated he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

His legal team believed it would be unfair to send their client for a month-long mental evaluation.

Senior Council Advocate Dali Mpofu said there was nothing wrong with his client and his bail bid should be heard.

HUNGER STRIKE

Mafe informed his legal team that he would go on a hunger strike if his bail application did not proceed.

Prosecutor Hélène Booysen said the state could not be held at ransom by the accused’s threats of a hunger strike.

Also on Tuesday, the State added a Schedule 6 terrorism charge to Mafe’s case.

The case was postponed until 11 February and he will remain in custody.