Suspected arson attack in South African parliament charged with terrorism

The man suspected of setting the fire that raged in the South African Parliament on January 2 was charged with terrorism on Tuesday, while numerous voices are calling for the homeless man to be released.

49-year-old Zandile Christmas Mafe was arrested on Sunday while inside the parliament building. Three days later, he was charged by a Cape Town court. Specifically for “infringement against the provisions (…) regarding the protection of democracy against terrorism and related activities,” according to the indictment document viewed by the French news agency AFP.

The man had previously been charged with housebreaking at the immense building in central Cape Town, arson and theft of laptops, crockery and documents.

Suspected arson attack in South African parliament charged with terrorism
© REUTERS

Since his arrest, numerous voices have been raised stressing that the man is nothing more than a scapegoat. According to them, it is defects in security and fire protection systems that should be blamed.

According to initial reports from South African authorities, the fire protection system was faulty. The sprinklers were not working, and the entire system had last been checked in 2017. An inspection scheduled for February 2020 had not taken place.

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