Zandile Mafe

[FILE] Zandile Mafe is accused of terrorism. Photo: Gallo Images/Daily Maverick/Leila Dougan

Zandile Mafe: Parliament fire suspect to make urgent bail bid

Zandile Mafe faces several charges for the fire which erupted at a Parliament building and has been sent for a mental evaluation

Zandile Mafe

[FILE] Zandile Mafe is accused of terrorism. Photo: Gallo Images/Daily Maverick/Leila Dougan

The High Court in the Western Cape is expected to hear an urgent bail application brought by lawyers for Zandile Mafe, the sole suspect in the Parliament fire on Saturday, 15 January 2022.

The 49-year-old faces several charges in connection with the blaze, including arson and terrorism. Mafe returned to the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, where it was learnt that he had been referred for a mental observation after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

The NPA confirmed on Friday that it has received a notice of motion for an urgent application for bail at the high court for Mafe at 11:00 on Saturday.


Depending on what the court decides, Zandile Mafe could be released on bail. He started his 30-day mental observation at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital on Thursday, after a bed was secured for him.

Mafe is reportedly on a hunger strike, demanding his release.

“State prosecutor Advocate Adenaan Gelderbloem advised Mafe’s legal representative of the latest developments through an email yesterday afternoon and called this morning to confirm receipt of the email. On Tuesday, the NPA successfully argued for the accused to be referred to the psychiatric hospital for mental observation following a diagnosis and recommendation by district surgeon Dr Zelda van Tonder that Mafe suffered from paranoid schizophrenia”

National Prosecuting Authority in the Western Cape spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila

Mafe’s legal representative, Luvuyo Godla accused the NPA of making his client a scapegoat for the fire at Parliament.

Godla further took aim at the NPA for supposedly not having its ducks in a row after the case was remanded for seven days for further investigations.

“Surely, this poor man is being made a scapegoat for the failures of the executive and legislature. There is no point at all to come and say, ‘We are not ready,’ when they allege that the most important point in the country has been destroyed. Yet they didn’t do anything…,” he said.