Parliament fire suspect Mafe admitted to psychiatric hospital for evaluation

The man accused of setting parliament on fire at the start of the year, Zandile Mafe, started a 30-day observation at the psychiatric Valkenberg Hospital on Thursday following a court ruling that he be sent for psychiatric evaluation.

Mafe appeared at the Cape Town magistrate court on Thursday morning where the presiding officer made the order for him to be admitted for observation.

Western Cape National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the state had informed Mafe’s lawyer advocate Dali Mpofu about the latest developments on Wednesday, after a bed for the accused was secured at the hospital.

Senior prosecutor, advocate Helene Booysen, told the court earlier this week the state was recommending that Mafe be mentally evaluated. A district surgeon from Karl Bremer Hospital, Dr Zelda van Tonder, who examined Mafe a day after his 2 January arrest, found that he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. 

Mafe faces six charges after the state withdrew a charge of destroying essential infrastructure and added a new one of terrorism under the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act

The other charges include housebreaking with intent to steal and theft, two counts of arson, and one of being in the possession of explosives. 

The case is expected to recommence on 11 February.

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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