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Zandile Mafe’s lawyer: 'We will sue the State'

Zandile Christmas Mafe allegedly did not even know what a confession was when his lawyer spoke with him. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Zandile Christmas Mafe allegedly did not even know what a confession was when his lawyer spoke with him. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jan 9, 2022


Cape Town – Arson-accused Zandile Christmas Mafe’s lawyer plans to challenge the alleged confession made by his client when he next appears in court on Tuesday.

Mafe’s lawyer, Luvuyo Godla, says he is just as confused as his client over an alleged confession made to the Hawks last week.

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Mafe is set to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on charges of allegedly setting fire to Parliament’s National Assembly building on January 2, and stealing documents, crockery and laptops.

Weekend Argus on Saturday yesterday exclusively reported that Mafe’s family had been informed by the Hawks that the accused had confessed to the crime while in police custody.

However, Godla said his client, when he spoke to him, did not even know what a confession was.

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“When I spoke to him, he said he didn't say anything; he didn't even know what a confession is, and I had to explain to him,” he said.

The man accused of burning the National Assembly, Zandile Christmas Mafe, appeared in the Cape Town magistrate’s court. Pic : Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

“I also don’t know what confession was made, because in order for a confession to take place you need a certain police officer there, or the magistrate.

“In legal terms, he could've given a statement that incriminates him, but it still won't stand in a court of law because I wasn't informed and I also didn't receive the charge sheet.”

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In a letter to the National Prosecuting Authority seen by Weekend Argus, Godlo wrote to prosecutor on the case, Adnaan Gelderbloem demanding that the defence be furnished with a copy of the charge sheet on or before 12 midday on Monday, or they “shall have no other option but to take further necessary steps”.

Godla said this was the second time his client was thrown a curve ball.

“According to the Criminal Procedure Act, you have to bring a suspect to court within 48 hours after arrest, you have to inform them why they have been arrested and why he is appearing. None of this was done, that is why he looked confused in court,” he added.

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“Now that he has been verified as the person he says he is, we will go to court and fight.

"We will sue the state if he is set free. We will first work with psychologists and then the actuaries to determine the exact amount we suing for."

“Someone with resources and an agenda is using this poor man to protect themselves and their interests.”

Golda confirmed that he had approached former EFF national chairperson Dali Mpofu to join his team in representing Mafe in court.

“At the moment, we are just in talks, nothing has been confirmed yet,” he said.

Godla, who represented the EFF seven years ago in their case to challenge sanctions against their members during the “pay back the money” saga, told Weekend Argus that he decided to defend Mafe pro bono and did not receive any instruction from the party, but had approached Mpofu.

“He is reliable and trustworthy, so now we just await the answer,” he said.

Last week, the Hawks visited Mafe’s family in Mahikeng to verify his personal information, after claims emerged that he was a former spy whose real name was Kgosi Herbert Rammu.

A intelligence officer, who spoke on the basis of anonymity, rubbished the claims that Mafe was part of special ops.

“If you are undercover, you only do it for a period of time, so that you are not noticed. This man has been seen living on the streets; special ops will never allow their workers to go undercover as vagrants, there’s too much risk,” he said.

“Also, why would a special ops person appear in court and then also confess?”

Mafe’s niece, Octavia, also believes there was a sinister motive behind her uncle’s arrest.

She said her uncle moved to Western Cape in 1996, for a job at a bakery in Langa where he worked for six years.

“After my parents divorced, he took care of us and he lost his job at the bakery and things have not been good for him since.”

She said she last saw him in 2004.

“I always remember him as a jovial person who can’t harm a fly. He is an avid newspaper reader and a soccer fanatic. Benni McCarthy was his favourite soccer player; at some stage, he even cut his hair like him.”

She said the family was devastated about his arrest.

“We might be poor, but we aren’t stupid; we can see what is at play here.”

Residents from Khayelitsha, where Mafe has been staying, are planning to picket outside the court to show their solidarity.

Phumzile Jack, one of the organisers of the picket in support of Mafe, yesterday said that he has known him for years and he believed he was innocent.

“Mafe is a victim of government paranoia; Parliament was on fire, so the first person they find next to the National Assembly becomes the arsonist without any evidence.

“First, they said Mafe was homeless, yet he took police to his shack in Khayelitsha, where he showed them where he stayed. The man is unemployed, but not homeless. They even ransacked his place and couldn’t find anything linking him to the burning of Parliament.”

Weekend Argus