Mafe's defence questions terrorism charge as State looks into his mental health

Zandile Mafe is now in custody at the Pollsmoor Correctional Services facility, pending the availability of a bed at Valkenberg Hospital where he’ll undergo a 30-day psychiatric observation.

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 - The defence in the Zandile Mafe arson case has questioned why another charge has been brought against him if his state of mental health is being questioned.

Mafe now also faces a terrorism charge stemming from an explosive device allegedly found in his possession at the time of his arrest.

The 49-year-old Khayelitsha resident made a second appearance in the Cape Town Magistrates Court on Tuesday for his supposed involvement in the fires that gutted Parliament’s National Assembly Chamber and that destroyed parts of the Old Assembly building.

Mafe is now in custody at the Pollsmoor Correctional Services facility, pending the availability of a bed at Valkenberg Hospital where he’ll undergo a 30-day psychiatric observation.

His lawyer, Advocate Dali Mpofu, said that Mafe would go on a hunger strike until his bail application was heard.

"He is very aggrieved by this. All the strange attributes of what has happened over the last few days, which I'll outline to the court, points to that he is being victimised and targeted, particularly because he is poor," Mpofu said.

Through Mpofu, Mafe said that there was nothing wrong with him and he wanted to be released from custody.

"He says that he does not understand why the government, which was not able to feed him when he was poor outside and fending for himself, now is so keen to feed him for a further period of time," Mpofu said.