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Lawyer of alleged Parliament arsonist accuses state of surprise tactics

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The lawyer for alleged Parliament arsonist Zandile Mafe has accused the state of what he terms perpetually springing up with what it deems new information in the case.

Judgement in Mafe’s bail application has been set down for Friday this week. Mafe took the stand in the Cape Town Regional Court on Saturday on charges ranging from arson to terrorism.

He was arrested shortly after Parliament was set alight earlier this month and will remain in custody at Pollsmoor Prison.

The state has argued that the safety of public officials and institutions will be in danger if Mafe is released on bail.

The state was denied permission to submit video footage of Mafe’s alleged confession.

Defence Attorney Luvuyo Godla says: “It has been the tendency of the state in this matter to come up with surprises, surprise after surprise. Even this video footage they are talking about, they never mentioned since we started. We never heard of the video footage. Only when he had to take the witness box, did they raise the issue of the video footage. Then we said it’s litigation by ambush this one. We consulted with him knowing that there was no video footage.”

Ahead of his appearance at the weekend, a small group protestors turned up at the court demanding Mafe’s immediate release.

Earlier this year, Mafe’s family had indicated that they would do everything everything to prove his innocence. Mafe, who is originally from Mahikeng in the North West, was arrested earlier this month.

Mafe’s family say they are saddened to see him making headlines for allegedly setting the fire in Parliament. The family says Mafe left home in 2004 and moved to Cape Town. He had been doing odd jobs there since then.

His brother, Alfred Matiwane, describes him as a loner, reserved and polite, saying he would not hurt anyone.

“Really what happened to Zandile, I am very disappointed about it. Because from childhood when I grew with Zandile, Zandile is not a violent person. He never even harmed any person at school. I am so surprised when I hear that today Zandile is the one who burned the National Assembly.”



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