Man accused of South Africa Parliament fire is denied bail

Feb 3, 2022, 3:58 PM | Updated: Feb 4, 2022, 6:01 am

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The man accused of setting alight South Africa’s Parliament building in Cape Town was on Friday denied bail.

Zandile Mafe, who was arrested in January for starting the fire that ravaged large parts of the Parliament building including the National Assembly chamber will remain in custody until his court appearance next week.

The Cape Town Regional Court dismissed Mafe’s bail application, saying he had not provided exceptional circumstances to be released for the serious charges he is facing.

He is charged with terrorism, theft, arson and housebreaking with the intent to commit arson and terrorism.

In his affidavit, Mafe said he intends to plead not guilty to all the charges and sue the state for wrongful arrest.

Mafe was arrested on Jan. 2 on the grounds of the Parliament complex when firefighters responded to the blaze. His lawyers have insisted that he is being made a scapegoat for the fire which caused extensive damage to the 130-year-old building, which has hosted the national legislature since the late 1800s.

Mafe is currently being held at Pollsmoor prison after the Western Cape High Court reversed the decision to place him at the Valkenbeg Psychiatric Facility for evaluation.

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Man accused of South Africa Parliament fire is denied bail