Mafe to be released from Valkenberg after court says mental evaluation unlawful

Alleged Parliament arsonist Zandile Mafe was admitted to the facility last Thursday after a district surgeon diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia and recommended that he be admitted for a 30-day mental assessment.

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 Western Cape High Court has ordered that alleged Parliament arsonist, Zandile Christmas Mafe, be released from Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital.

Mafe was admitted to the facility last Thursday after a district surgeon diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia and recommended that he be admitted for a 30-day mental assessment.

The 49-year-old, who's now contracted COVID-19 and is in isolation for eight to 10 days, has been accused of setting Parliament alight earlier this year and faces a slew of charges, including that of arson and terrorism.

Mafe's lawyer, Advocate Dali Mpofu, has questioned how the State could charge him with terrorism and at the same time question his state of mental health.

Judge President John Hlophe has ruled Mafe that should be released from the Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital first thing on Wednesday morning.

"... he be placed in a normal correctional facility and taken out of Valkenberg. That order was made improperly and unlawfully," Hlophe said.

His bail hearing will be heard at the Cape Town Regional Court on Saturday subject to further consultation between the parties.

Mafe, through his legal team, said that there was nothing wrong with him and he should be released on bail.