Alleged arsonist Zandile Christmas Mafe appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court earlier in connection with the fire at Parliament.
Leila Douga, Gallo Images, Daily Maverick
- Parliament arson-accused Zandile Mafe is appealing the denial of bail by a court earlier this year.
- His lawyer, Dali Mpofu SC, submitted that the magistrate was wrong in relying on a confession to suggest he may be a danger to society if released.
- Mpofu said Mafe was being deprived of his freedom because of a hasty conclusion on the state of his mind.
Parliament arson-accused Zandile Mafe’s appeal to the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town for bail started on Monday.
Mafe was arrested at Parliament on 2 January on the sidelines of the fire that gutted the National Assembly building and parts of the Old Assembly.
He faces charges of housebreaking, theft and terrorism, among others, and was denied bail in the Cape Town Regional Court.
However, his pro-bono lawyer, advocate Dali Mpofu SC, argued during the application for leave to appeal the bail refusal that Mafe was being denied his constitutional right to freedom.
READ | Hawks investigating whether alleged Parliament arsonist had an accomplice
He submitted that the “so-called confession” obtained from Mafe did not contain specifics, as was required for it to be considered an admission.
Mpofu said lines such as “It was the right thing to put Parliament on fire” because “it does not help the people of South Africa” were no different to an opinion that anybody might make.
“He didn’t say it was the right thing to do ‘by me’,” said Mpofu, submitting that confessions and admissions have to be specific.
His second line of attack was on the physical assessment of Mafe, which diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia.
The court heard that Mafe was taken for a physical, booked for 10:30 on 3 January, and diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia within 45 minutes.
At 12:18, he was taken for a confession.
He said confessions were meant to be taken from people of sound mind and questioned why the State took the confession less than two hours after a diagnosis of mental illness.
Mpofu said the confession “belongs in the dustbin” and added that Mafe’s freedom was being curtailed just because he had looked dishevelled at the time.
He suggested that perhaps it was a cover by the state after the embarrassment of the fire. He likened it to the apartheid state saying that Dimitri Tsafendas was mentally unwell when he killed Hendrik Verwoerd in Parliament.
READ | Hawks’ analysis places Zandile Mafe inside Parliament at time of fire, court hears
Judges James Lekhuleni and Daniel Thulare are hearing the application.
Mpofu said that apart from a stutter, there was nothing wrong with Mafe.
He said he would never have put him in the witness box for his bail application if he did not think Mafe was of sound mind.
According to Mpofu, the Regional Court magistrate hinted that Mafe would be a danger to society based on the contents of the confession, and therefore should not be granted bail.
“The thing doesn’t even pretend to be a confession,” submitted Mpofu.
Mafe was initially admitted to Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital in Cape Town, but an urgent application saw him released and transferred to Pollsmoor prison instead.
The application continues.
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Source by www.news24.com