S.African Parliament fire allegedly started by boxes, paper, petrol

Advertisement

The man who is suspected of setting fire to the South African Parliament earlier this month allegedly used boxes, paper and petrol to start the blaze, which eventually gutted buildings in the premises…reports Asian Lite News

The statement issued on Sunday by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of South Africa said the prosecution alleged that Zandile Christmas Mafe, the suspect, “purchased petrol in a bottle, made his way to Parliament, using stealth, broke into Parliament and after spending some time in Parliament, used boxes, paper and the petrol to set parliament alight causing devastating damage to the facility”, reports Xinhua news agency.

The prosecution opposed the application.

The 49-year-old, who is charged with housebreaking with intent to commit terrorism and arson, terrorism, arson and theft, could face life imprisonment if convicted.

ALSO READ: South African Parliament fire suspect under mental observation

While Mafe pleaded not guilty, an affidavit of an investigating officer submitted by the prosecution said Mafe had confessed that he committed to the crime because he wanted President Cyril Ramaphosa to resign with immediate effect, while also demanding the release of Janus Waluz, a convicted murderer in the assassination of former South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani in 1993.

The fire that started in the morning on January 2 lasted more than 70 hours, severely damaging the building of the National Assembly (NA), the lower house, and completely burned down the NA chamber.

It also caused extensive damage to the century-old Old Assembly building that houses the National Council of Provinces, the upper house.

The affidavit said Mafe appeared to be pleased with himself after he was shown a video clip of the burning parliament and voluntarily pointed out a petrol station where he purchased petrol for 10 rands, as well as the gate and window he used to enter Parliament.

Bail judgment will be delivered on February 4, according to the statement.

The fire forced Parliament to move its flagship program, the State of the Nation Address, to be delivered by Ramaphosa on February 10, from the NA chamber to the historic City Hall of Cape Town.

Geordin Hill-Lewis, Cape Town mayor, will on Monday officially hand over the City Hall to Parliament’s Presiding Officers.