Zandile Mafe, the alleged parliament arsonist, is due to return to the Cape Town High Court on Thursday, 8 June, after having a mental health evaluation in the Eastern Cape.
Mafe was referred to the Fort England Hospital in Makhanda on March 28 to assess if he suffered from mental illness or intellectual handicap at the time of the alleged act and whether he could understand court proceedings.
Mafe is charged with arson, housebreaking with intent to commit arson, terrorism and theft in connection with the Parliament fire.
He was supposed to appear before Judge Nathan Erasmus a month ago. But, in his absence, the case was postponed since the hospital required additional time to finish the assessment.
Mafe’s extended stay at Fort England is his second admission to a State psychiatric facility.
Immediately after his incarceration, he was transferred to Valkenberg in Cape Town after a district surgeon, Dr Zelda van Tonder, preliminarily diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia.
The Cape Town High Court set aside the referral and ordered Mafe’s release, and return to prison because the Magistrate’s Court failed to follow the correct procedure.
Throughout the proceedings, Mafe’s legal counsel, led by Advocate Dali Mpofu, argued that his mental health was fine.
However, in late 2022, there was a change of tune when Mpofu’s junior counsel, Nikiwe Nyathi, and lawyer Luvuyo Godla said there may be issues with their client. In February, Mpofu said the defence’s position is that Mafe is fit to stand trial, but a psychiatrist needs to make that call.