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Alleged Parliament arsonist Zandile Mafe won’t stand trial

todayDecember 11, 2023 54

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Zandile Mafe won’t be prosecuted for allegedly setting Parliament on fire.

The high court in Cape Town has declared him unfit to stand trial following a series of psychiatric evaluations, which diagnosed him with schizophrenia and paranoia.

Mafe is accused of setting parts of the National Assembly alight in January last year, which is expected to cost the state over R2 billion in refurbishments.

Delivering his judgment, Judge Nathan Erasmus emphasised that Mafe’s psychiatric report labelled him as delusional while his behaviour had been described as “strange and inappropriate” by medical experts. 

“Mr Mafe is not capable of understanding the proceedings as so as to make a proper defense and therefore, my finding is… that he is unfit to stand trial,” the judge ordered.

Addressing the high court sitting, Mafe’s legal representative, advocate Dali Mpofu, said they plan to appeal the ruling.

In a heated exchange with judge Erasmus, Mpofu also accused the judge of wanting to re-write the law.

Mafe has denied suffering from mental illness on several occasions, despite erratic behaviour during court appearances, including admitting to setting Parliament on fire and hurling slurs at judge Erasmus. 

Written by: Naomi Kobbie

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