South Africa: Alleged Parliament Arsonist Mafe ‘Unable to Follow Court Proceedings’ or Conduct ‘Proper Defence’

The panel that examined and assessed alleged Parliament arsonist Zandile Mafe has found that he has schizophrenia and is ‘unable to follow the court proceedings so as to make a proper defence’.

Dr Thupana Seshoka, who led an expert panel at Fort England Psychiatric Hospital in the Eastern Cape, told the Western Cape High Court on Thursday that the panel found that alleged Parliament arsonist Zandile Mafe has schizophrenia and should be proclaimed a state patient and admitted to Valkenberg Hospital for treatment and rehabilitation.

Seshoka testified virtually before Judge Nathan Erasmus and was asked by State prosecutor Mervyn Menigo to expand on the procedure and methods used to reach the conclusion.

Mafe has been in jail since his arrest in January 2022 after a fire gutted parts of the National Assembly building in Cape Town. The court ordered that Mafe be sent to the hospital to determine whether he was capable of comprehending the gravity of the charges against him, the crime he allegedly committed and of defending himself in court.

He is accused of setting fire to the National Assembly building in the early hours of 2 January 2022. He faces charges of terrorism, arson, housebreaking, theft and possession of explosives.

On 1 September this year, Judge Erasmus revealed only two points of the report of a panel of psychiatrists and psychologists who evaluated Mafe at Fort…


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