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Parliament fire suspect Zandile Mafe on a hunger strike, refuses to appear in court

PRETORIA – In what was expected to be his first high court appearance, arsonist accused Zandile Christmas Mafe refused to appear at the Western Cape High Court yesterday.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila, said when it was Mafe’s turn to appear before the judge, a court orderly came up and told the court that they were facing a predicament as the accused was lying on the floor and he wasn’t saying anything.

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“They tried to lift him, but he didn’t want to move.”

Judge Elize Steyn stood down the pre-trial conference and asked Mafe’s lawyer, Luvuyo Godla, to consult with his client to determine what was going on.

Ntabazalila said Godla came back 30 minutes later and told the court that his client has been on a hunger strike for a considerable amount of time and added that he did not get advice from the Pollsmoor Prison about his client’s hunger strike.

He further told the court that his client was brought to court, although it was known that he is not fit enough to appear before the judge and he was still dressed in pyjamas.

However, the pre-trial started in Mafe’s absence.

The senior state advocate, Mervyn Menigo, told the court that 95% of the state’s case had been forwarded to the defence, and the defence needed to provide the state with a hard drive to download video footage and hand it over to them.

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