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Anywhere but Valkenberg: Parliament arson accused puts his foot down

Zandile Mafe appears at Western Cape High Court to appeal against the dismissal of his bail application.

Zandile Mafe appears at Western Cape High Court to appeal against the dismissal of his bail application.

PHOTO: Brenton Geach, Gallo Images

  • The pre-trial hearing of Parliament arson accused Zandile Mafe resumed in the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town.
  • Mafe was a no-show at three of his previous scheduled hearings, delaying proceedings.
  • He was arrested after he was accused of starting a fire that gutted Parliament’s National Assembly chamber in January last year.

There is finally an agreement to refer Parliament arson accused Zandile Mafe for another mental assessment. 

Mafe, however, says it can be done anywhere but at Valkenberg Hospital in Cape Town.

He was referred there shortly after the January 2022 fire, but the assessment was cancelled on review because of procedural problems.

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His advocate, Dali Mpofu, SC, said Mafe refused to go back there again.

After almost an hour of deliberation on Friday, Judge Nathan Erasmus postponed the matter to 24 February, so that the hospital and an independent psychiatrist could be decided on. 

As the matter was winding up, Mafe took off his jacket and said he would not go to Valkenberg. 

READ | One year later, National Assembly building is still in ruins after horror fire

He was whisked down the stairs.

Mpofu said that although he agreed to another referral, Mafe believes there is nothing wrong with him.

The court heard that if Mafe is referred to Valkenberg, he will be number 112 on the list.

With the 30-day referrals done 10 at a time, this means it could take at least a year for his assessment, and that his trial could only start around 2025.

The judge said there was a possibility Mafe could be prioritised, but this would kick someone else back in the queue.

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