By John Ikani
South Africa’s prosecuting authorities have added a charge of terrorism against the man accused of setting the country’s parliament alight last week.
Forty-nine-year-old Zandile Christmas Mafe made his second appearance in court Tuesday.
The homeless man was arrested shortly after the fire erupted at the parliament buildings in Cape Town in the early hours of January 2nd.
He was allegedly found with laptops, documents and crockery in his possession. Prosecutors now say he was also in possession of an explosive device, hence the additional terrorism charge.
It was revealed that he’d already been sent for psychiatric observation on January 3rd and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
The estimated damage to the parliament complex is just over 14 million U.S. dollars. That excludes the cost of moveable assets inside, like computers and furniture.
In Mafe’s first court appearance, his lawyer Luvuyo Godla denied all charges against him.
According to him, his client is being made a scapegoat and wants him to be released on bail.
Mafe has since changed lawyers, and is now being represented by the famous Dali Mpofu, who is affiliated with the left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters political party.
Mpfou has also been representing the country’s former president Jacob Zuma, who was jailed for contempt of court.
The additional charge of terrorism is considered a Schedule Six crime in South Africa, one of the most serious, and may see Mr Mafe’s request for bail denied.
Mafe’s bail hearing was postponed till the 11th of February and he will be detained in a psychiatric institute.