Parliament arson case postponed

The man accused of burning the National Assembly, Zandile Christmas Mafe, appeared at the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court. Photograph: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

The case against Zandile Mafe, 49, from Site B, Khayelitsha, who stands accused of being behind the fire on Sunday morning that saw extensive damage to Parliament, has been postponed to next Tuesday January 11.

Mr Mafe made a brief appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court yesterday on charges of housebreaking with intent to steal and theft, two counts of arson, possession of an explosive device and destruction of an essential infrastructure.

A flare-up of the fire on Monday caused even further damage to the National Assembly where the ceiling had already collapsed, leaving the chamber in ruins.

Patricia de Lille, the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, said a preliminary report into the fire is expected on Friday.

Ms De Lille said a 10-member team of experts, including civil engineers, is looking into the extent of the damage, repair costs and time-frames to rebuild the damaged infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority has also not ruled out that more charges could be brought against Mr Mafe.

Yesterday Magistrate Zamekile Mbalo ordered the matter be postponed for further investigation.