Bail hearing for suspected Parliament arsonist postponed to next week

An urgent bail hearing of the man implicated in the devastating Parliament fire was heard on Saturday in the Western Cape High Court.

Journalists await news of the urgent bail bid of Zandile Mafe's legal team. Picture: Kevin Brandt/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - The defence of the man who is suspected of starting a fire at Parliament is set to challenge his referral for psychiatric evaluation.

49-year-old Zandile Christmas Mafe's bail application was set to be heard in the Western Cape High Court on Saturday morning but was postponed to next Saturday.

Mafe is undergoing mental evaluation at the Valkenburg Psychiatric Hospital in Cape Town after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

A bed was secured for him at the facility three days ago.

He was arrested soon after the fire erupted at the parliamentary precinct on 2 January.

His lawyer Luvuyo Godla said they were of the view that Mafe was being used as a scapegoat.


The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure said on Friday that all state buildings, including Parliament were "self-insured" and the state would bare its own costs.

The department was clarifying reports about buildings in Parliament being uninsured following the recent fire.

Public Works and Parliament officials yesterday briefed a joint committee on the financial management of Parliament about the ongoing repairs and various interventions.

The Department told MPs that certificates from January and November last year confirmed that all fire safety equipment was in good working order in both the National Assembly and Old Assembly Buildings.

Acting Public Works Director-General Imtiaz Faizel also told MPs that according to the Public Finance Management Act, the state, and the department as the landlord, would shoulder the costs of the damage.

The department also told MPs that upon further inspection, it was found that the fire sprinklers had been inspected following another fire in March.

Faizel said the department was engaging structural engineers to allow investigations to take place.