Should we expect Zandile Mafe to respect the law? Mafe, since his detention, seems to be playing games with the law enforcement and the judicial system. He was expected in court today, but instead he performed another prank. What follows is a complete and detailed explanation:
Zandile Mafe, the alleged arsonist of the Parliament Building, is scheduled to appear in court again on September 2. His preliminary hearing was scheduled for today, but the Western Cape High Court adjourned it. That's because on Friday, arson suspect Zandile Mafe was discovered laying on the floor of his holding cell, refusing to be escorted to court. The prosecutor in the case of the Parliament fire involving Zandile Mafe had to walk downstairs to figure out why his client was being denied entry to court. The Western Cape High Court orderlies discovered him sprawled out on the floor of his holding cell. It was necessary for his attorney to go and see how he was doing.
Reportedly on his second hunger strike, Zandile Mafe was still in his pajamas at home and unable to appear in court. His lawyer has verified this. There was no way to stop the preliminary hearing from proceeding without him. A statement from Mafe's attorney confirms that his client plans to enter a not guilty plea. As of this writing, Mafe has been accused of starting a fire in the National Assembly chamber of Parliament in the month of January, causing damage to the Old Assembly building. After being arrested on January 2 and failing to post bail in multiple court appearances, he has been detained in a correctional facility ever since. Prosecutors claim that after he started the fire, the suspect fled out of a window in the Old Assembly Chamber carrying stolen goods such as coffee, spices, official legislative stamps, tableware, a toaster, and a sling bag with personal stuff.
In order to prove that Mafe was involved in terrorist activity, the State threatened to set Parliament on fire. Too much time has passed without any progress in this matter. Because Mafe is free to do as he pleases, the state has no way of proving that he intentionally set fire to Parliament. Since when does a criminal defendant in jail get to choose whether or not he shows up to his trial? It's clear that this individual is playing fast and loose with his rights under the Constitution. He needs to serve out his time in prison.
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