Zandile Mafe has received sympathy from supporters around the world, but the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), guided by a case docket turned in by the Hawks, is forging ahead with prosecution and on Tuesday, the homeless man renowned as ‘Christmas’ learned of his terrorism charges.
Zandile Mafe threatens to go on hunger strike
The Cape Town Magistrate’s Court was packed to the rafters with reporters as the bald-headed Mafe resurfaced from holding cells to occupy his place on the docks.
As reported by Times Live, Mafe’s legal representation also received a make-over, with Advocate Dali Mpofu joining the team fighting for the homeless man’s innocence.
Following his first court appearance, Mafe, it’s understood, underwent a psychiatric evaluation and it was determined that he suffers from paranoid schizophreniarenia, a mental condition characterised by delusions and hallucinations.
Patients with this type of schizophrenia generally struggle to maintain a normal life as, for the most part, their perception of reality is blurred. In essence, at any given time, Mafe is not able to discern, as any normal human being would, what is real and what isn’t.
After hearing arguments from both benches, the court determined it would be in Mafe’s best interest if he was kept at a psychiatric facility until he appears next on 11 February 2022.
However, it seems Mafe is prepared to go on a hunger strike and, according to his lawyer, this is why:
“He doesn’t understand why the state that never fed him when he was on the streets is now so keen to feed him. He believes he has been made a scapegoat. My client does not want to trade his liberty for food.”
What charges is Mafe facing?
The 49-year-old is accused of lighting the fire that caused extensive damage to Parliament. In a recent Sunday Times report, it was revealed that the building was not insured and, more than likely, the burden of repairing the damage — an architect who designed and oversaw contruction of Parliament estimating the cost to top R1 billion — will fall on the taxpayer.
Reacting to the extraordinary inferno, President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted that while the work of the fire and rescue teams is to be commended, a lot of unretrievable treasures were lost.
“While they have worked to stop Parliament from being razed to ashes, it is very clear that this fire has devastated the parliamentary precinct and its contents and assets, including Parliament’s historical treasures of heritage,” he said.
The man pointed at as the culprit was formally charged with:
- two counts of arson;
- possession of an explosive device;
- housebreaking with intent to steal;
- theft; and
- terrorism (a schedule 6 offence)