A clean-shaven Zandile Mafe, wearing a smart suit jacket, appeared in court on Tuesday with new and high-level legal representation in his trial for allegedly torching parliament.
Senior counsel Dali Mpofu, former national chairperson of the EFF, arrived at the Cape Town magistrate’s court to represent Mafe in an expected bail application.
Mpofu told the court Mafe has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
A small crowd gathered outside the court chanting #FreeZandile.
Mafe is accused of breaking into parliament and stealing laptops, crockery and documents and “setting fire to the parliamentary buildings”.
The 49-year-old from Khayelitsha faces charges of housebreaking with intent to steal and theft. He also faces two counts of arson, possession of an explosive device and destruction of essential infrastructure.
More than 300 men and women were deployed and 60 firefighting appliances and airborne equipment used to contain the blaze over three days.
The new National Assembly building was completely destroyed. In the old National Assembly, the fifth floor — where the gym and offices are situated — was destroyed and the floors beneath, especially the fourth floor, suffered water and smoke damage.