Man Accused of South African Parliament Fire Faces Terrorism Charge

The South African man charged with arson for burning down large parts of the country’s historic parliament buildings has also been charged with terrorism. 

Forty-nine-year-old Zandile Christmas Mafe made his second appearance in court Tuesday.  He is now facing several charges related to the fire, including terrorism, arson, breaking and entering and theft. 

Mafe was arrested shortly after the fire erupted at the parliament buildings in Cape Town in the early hours of January 2nd.

He was allegedly found with laptops, documents and crockery in his possession.  Prosecutors now say he was also in possession of an explosive device, hence the additional terrorism charge.

In his first court appearance his lawyer denied all charges against him.

Mafe has since changed lawyers, and is now being represented by the famous Dali Mpofu, who is affiliated with the left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters political party.

Mpfou has also been representing the country’s former president Jacob Zuma, who was jailed for contempt of court.

Mafe’s bail hearing was postponed till the 11th of February and he will be detained in a psychiatric institute.

It was revealed that he’d already been sent for psychiatric observation on January 3rd and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.  

The estimated damage to the parliament complex is just over 14 million U.S. dollars. That excludes the cost of moveable assets inside, like computers and furniture.

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