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Controversy Unravels as Parliament Arson Accused, Zandile Mafe, Rejects Psychiatric Findings

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

In an unexpected turn of events during the pre-trial proceedings at the Western Cape high court, Zandile Mafe, accused of torching South Africa's Parliament, challenged the findings of his psychiatric evaluations that deemed him unfit for trial. Advocate Luvuyo Godla, representing Mafe, notified the court of the protest against the panel's findings appointed by both the state and the defence.

The court subsequently rescheduled the case for hearings on 2 and 3 November to grant Mafe the opportunity to delineate his qualms regarding the two evaluation reports. The crux of the issue lies in whether Mafe comprehends the seriousness of the charges levelled against him, the crime he allegedly committed, and whether he's capable of defending himself.

An independent secret panel, led by senior counsel Dali Mpofu and convened by Mafe's legal team, scrutinised the initial evaluation findings. Despite previously accepting the conclusions reached by three state-appointed specialists, they are now backing Mafe's rejection of the report.

As Godla revealed to the media, should a party oppose the panel's findings, the court can initiate a section 77 inquiry under the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA). This procedure aims to assess the mental condition of the accused, not to examine guilt, a process slated for the November hearings.

The unfolding controversy surrounding Mafe's trial continues to grip the nation as he is expected to take the stand in early November.

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