Alleged Parliament arsonist Zandile Mafe denied bail

Magistrate Michelle Adams denied Zandile Christmas Mafe, the man accused of burning down Parliament at the start of the year, bail in the Cape Town Regional Court on Friday, 4 February.


Mafe was charged with housebreaking with intent to commit terrorism and arson, arson, terrorism and theft.

The terrorism charges are schedule 6 offences, which require the defence to adduce evidence of exceptional circumstances to prove that releasing the accused on bail is in the interest of justice.

Mafe’s senior counsel, Dali Mpofu, listed 12 such exceptional circumstances, including his unlawful referral to Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital for mental assessment.

The State countered that the 12 circumstances were “thumb-sucked” and said  Mafe may be a flight risk because he has no ties to the Western Cape and that he was a danger to himself and society at large because of threats he made in an alleged confession.

Magistrate Adams agreed with the State and said the bail application was dismissed because the defence failed to prove exceptional circumstances.

Mafe was remanded in custody until Friday, 11 February.

Last week, both parties agreed that the charges Mafe faces are serious.

The accused told Magistrate Adams, on 29 January, that he has no intention to run away from the trial because he plans to sue the State for wrongful arrest.

If granted bail, he told the court, he intends to return to his Khayelitsha home and watch his DStv and live off donations from the public until his trial begins.

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