Forensics link suspected arsonist Zandile Mafe to Houses of Parliament burning, court hears

Midday Report host Mandy Wiener chats with Eyewitness News reporter Kevin Brandt.

  • State says arson suspect Zandile Mafe has been linked to CCTV footage of Houses of Parliament fire
  • The case was adjourned to mid-May for further investigation
  • Forensic teams struggled to complete their investigation due to a number of challenges at the crime scene

FILE: Zandile Mafe, the man accused of setting Parliament on fire, appeared at Cape Town Magistrates Court on January 11, 2022. Picture: Kevin Brandt/Eyewitness News

Forensic investigators have established a positive link between Zandile Mafe and the Parliament fire, according to prosecutor Mervyn Menigo.

Menigo says a positive report of facial comparisons has been obtained from experts who link the accused to the individual seen in CCTV footage captured by Parliament cameras.

Mafe appeared in Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on Friday, where the case was adjourned to May 15 for further investigation.

The 49-year-old face is accused of starting the fire that damaged the National Assembly Hall and destroyed sections of the Old Assembly Building in January.

He was charged with trespass with intent to commit terrorism and arson and separate charges of terrorism, arson and theft.

Menigo told the court that investigators weren’t allowed access to the crime scene until March 15.

Hawks investigator Christiaan Theron has asked for a further six weeks to complete the on-site investigation in Parliament.

A postponement was granted due to difficulties encountered by the forensic team, including 50 tons of water that still need to be evacuated from the chambers of the National Assembly.

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They say the building has been declared safe but they have to work very slowly and carefully given the state of the crime scene.

Kevin Brandt, Reporter – Eyewitness News

Luvuyo Godla says they have not received any of the details the state shared in court, especially regarding the positive facial comparison report they received saying that Zandile Mafe is indeed the man which was captured in CCTV footage by security cameras here in Parliament.

Kevin Brandt, Reporter – Eyewitness News

From the start, the state was very sure of the solidity of the case against Zandile Mafe… They are very sure that he is the man who set Parliament on fire.

Kevin Brandt, Reporter – Eyewitness News

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Harry D. Gonzalez