South Africa’s Parliament fire suspect appears in court

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South Africa’s Parliament fire suspect in appears in court, Hawks, National Prosecutinr Authority

The suspect arrested by South African police in connection with the fire at South Africa’s parliament appeared in court on Tuesday, where he was denied bail by the judge after pleading not guilty.

The accused, Zandile Christmas Mafe, faces several charges including arson, theft, housebreaking and contravention of the National Key Points Acts. The act is designed to restrict access to sensitive government buildings such as the 150-year old houses of parliament.

According to Mafe’s lawyer, he denies the charges despite being arrested on the premises of the Parliament complex the morning of the fire Sunday morning.

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Eric Ntabazalila, the spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority told journalists outside court that Mafe was also found with an explosive device. No further details have been provided about the device or the reasons he gave for being on the premises, nor have they ruled out the possibility of more arrests. Investigations by the Hawks, the special investigative unit of the police are still ongoing.

Nomthandazo Mbambo, speaking on behalf of the Hawks said: “We’re going to be conducting a full investigation and we think there may be other people involved but at this stage, the focus is on this one until the investigation can dictate otherwise.”

Now that the suspect in the fire that destroyed much of South Africa’s main Parliament chamber, offices and other buildings nearby has appeared in court, the events of the day may start to become clearer.



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